Rise in NCDs poses a huge burden, says minister

James Kon

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are a huge health burden for Brunei Darussalam.

Cardiovascular diseases are the second highest cause of death in the country. More concerning is that there is an increase in the number of young patients receiving treatment for heart diseases such as ischaemic heart disease and heart failure.

Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar highlighted this worrying trend in his speech as the guest of honour in the signing of memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the Ministry of Health (MoH) and Politeknik Brunei (PB), Ministry of Education (MoE) on the cooperation in the cardiovascular medical field.

Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham said, “Detection and diagnosis of disease in the early stage are very important as early treatment ensure a better chance of survival and quality of life. Alhamdulillah, we are currently in the era of scientific progress where medical technology has been growing rapidly to enable early detection and treatment to be realised.”

With the development and progress of medical technology, the minister said, “We need highly skilled doctors and technologists not only to operate the latest medical equipment but to interpret readings that have been issued. The capability and skill to do this quickly and accurately is very important in providing healthcare and medical treatment to patients.”

On the MoU, Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham said, “Life-long learning and the desire to improve have long been instilled within the health personnel as one of their responsibilities toward patient care. The MoH welcomes and appreciates this and supports efforts that will lead to better healthcare for the country.

“The MoH is honoured to cooperate with PB to launch a diploma programme in the field of medical cardiovascular, especially Level 5 diploma programme for cardiovascular technology and cardiovascular nursing.”

He said, “The MoH is aware of the difficulties in obtaining formal training in specific health fields whether within or outside the country.

“I am grateful because the MoE through higher education institutions continues to support the MoH’s efforts in providing quality training and education to current and future health workers.

“The training programme is also planned to be offered to international students in the future to help build the reputation and improve the ranking of PB as well as healthcare standards in Brunei Darussalam at the international stage.”

PB, the minister said, “is a higher education institution known for its ambitious and dynamic leadership. This is proven with the introduction of new and appealing courses from year to year. At the School of Health Sciences, PB currently offers four Level 5 Diploma programmes – nursing, midwifery, paramedic and hygiene, and dental therapy. The number of courses will increase to six with the introduction of cardiovascular technology and environmental health programme in January 2021.

“We also hope that the cardiovascular nursing programme will run by July 2021”.