Cardiovascular disease (CVD) has overtaken cancer as the leading cause of overall and premature deaths in Brunei Darussalam, with last year’s statistics suggesting that CVDs were behind 416 deaths, compared to 306 deaths from cancers.
Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar highlighted this in his opening remarks at the Cardiology Conference 2022 yesterday.
“CVDs accounted for over a quarter (26 per cent) of all deaths (416 out of 1,596) in Brunei Darussalam last year. The age standardised premature CVDs mortality rate in the Sultanate was about 135 per 100,000 population in 2021. This rate is comparable to many Western countries and is similar to the reported age standardised CVDs mortality rate in the United States (US) at 130 per 100,000 population in 2019,” he said.
The minister added that in the context of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and CVDs, Gleneagles JPMC is committed to both the management and prevention of CVDs, reflected through the 2019 signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Gleneagles JPMC and the Ministry of Health (MoH).
The MoU serves to collaborate on a joint effort promoting a healthier lifestyle through the Workplace and Health (WAH) programme and the Happy Environment and Lifestyle (HEAL) programme.
“The MoH appreciates Gleneagles JPMC’s continued support in providing quality specialised healthcare services to the population,” Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham said, adding that “this is testament to the strong collaborative efforts of both institutions in curbing the CVD burden”.
Additionally, the MoH – through the Multisectoral Task Force for Health – will continue to cooperate with stakeholders to achieve the targets and indicators.
“This is set out in the strategic objectives of the Brunei Darussalam Multisectoral Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of non-communicable diseases (BruMAP-NCD) 2021-2025, whose goal is to – by 2025 – reduce by 10 per cent the probability of dying between the ages of 30 and 69 from CVDs, cancer, diabetes or chronic respiratory diseases.”
Citing the conference theme ‘Cardiology in Asia and 20 years of Gleneagles JPMC’ the minister highlighted the centre’s achievements and contributions towards cardiology and the healthcare of the populace.
Before Gleneagles JPMC was establishment in the early 2000’s, CVDs was the leading cause of death in Brunei Darussalam. This would become the impetus for His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam’s vision of building a world class heart centre to address the care needs of the populace.
A joint venture between Parkway Healthcare Ltd and the Brunei government, represented by Jerudong Park Medical Centre, ensued on July 15, 2002.
Since its inauguration that year, Gleneagles JPMC has grown rapidly, accomplishing various tertiary cardiac services, while building state-of-the art facilities and cardiac care. It established itself as one of the best cardiac centres in Borneo and in the region with the first coronary angiogram performed on February 21, 2003.
On May 10, 2003, it notched another milestone by performing the first open heart surgery, followed by, the very next day, the first percutaneous coronary intervention. Up until 2021, Gleneagles JPMC has performed over 16,000 angiograms (averaging 859 annually), over 9,000 percutaneous coronary interventions (averaging 483 annually) and 2,959 heart surgeries (averaging 156 annually).
Gleneagles JPMC has also started performing complex procedures including transcatheter closure of PDA and ASD, electrophysiological ablation, and other comprehensive treatments such as implantation of watchman device and transcatheter aortic valve implantation.
“Gleneagles JPMC has achieved many remarkable milestones over the past 20 years,” Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham said, listing among them “the introduction of the extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) programme in 2010, which has saved countless lives, including those of COVID-19 patients”.
Another milestone was the May 2013 introduction of the CARTO electrophysiological mapping system for complex ablations – the first system in Borneo, and one of the first systems in the region.
Additionally, on November 11, 2014, Gleneagles JPMC performed the first case of LVAD implantation in Brunei and Borneo; proving to be one of the first successful cases in ASEAN.
To this day, it continues to be one of the few hospitals in this region to have this capability.
The centre also obtained a JCI Accreditation in October 2020 for monitoring and maintaining its quality of care for patients.
“On top of pursuing clinical excellence, Gleneagles JPMC has also invested in education and elevating the profile of the country and hospital, while contributing towards the development of clinical expertise and leadership qualities among locals and international health professionals,” the minister said.
Gleneagles JPMC embarked on a fellowship training programme for specialist doctors for subspecialty training and to develop nursing and allied health professionals. It also sponsored local and international staff to attend courses and programmes abroad, including at Institut Jantung Negara (IJN) and Nanyang Polytechnic in Singapore.
Over the years, the centre has made a conscious effort to localise its staff to better support operations; 60 per cent of its existing staff are Bruneians.
“From the pandemic, we must learn to innovate ways to treat and manage patients. It is my hope that Gleneagles JPMC will continue to excel in the management of patients by practising technological advances such as telemedicine and telesurgery to enhance its comprehensive care of patients, especially with the ‘One Patient, One Record’ system available via Bru-HIMS 2.0 in the near future.”