Health at large

health at large 6Saving hearts Have a change of heart and live a quality life is the resounding message that three organisations are communicating to Malaysians.

Concerned with the growing number of Malaysians suffering from heart diseases, the National Heart Association of Malaysia(NHAM), National Heart Foundation of Malaysia (NHF) and Pfizer has joined forces to create greater national awareness of heart health among the public. One of the group’s first initiatives from the public-private partnership was the production of an education video compact disc (CD) on Heart Health which was jointly unveiled by the three organisations at a media briefing recently.

Produced in three languages, the 30-minute video CD aims to provide over 5,000 doctors nationwide a visual aid to raise awareness of heart diseases among their patients and empower them with information to care for their hearts.

“We are happy with this collaboration between the public and private sector to support public education on heart disease. As doctors, our concern is primarily for the well being of our patients, not only in treatment, but also in educating them on prevention of heart disease risk factors such as hypertension, high clolesterol and obesity among others.

“We hope that our patients will benefit from the video to further understand the implications of heart disease and start taking preventive measures to change their lifestyles now”, said Dr Ahmad Nizar Jamaludin, President of the National Heart Association of Malaysia.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in Malaysia. The number of heart disease related cases in local hospitals have shown significant increase. In 2005, hypertensionrelated disease cases in hospitals rose to 38,445 compared to 32,886 in the year 2000. Other heart disease related cases amounted to 25,362 last year vs. 17,598 in 2000.

Today, 30% of Malaysians suffer from obesity, hypertension and high cholesterol while 8.5% suffer from diabetes, according to the Health Ministry. In calculating those percentages against the country’s population of 25 million, approximately 7.5 million people suffer from heart disease risk factors while 2.1 million are diabetic.

The increasing rate of cardiovascular diseases among the people continue to consume a large portion of the country’s healthcare budget and the Health Ministry has further allocated funds uner the Ninth Malaysia Plan in a mission to bring down the incidences of heart disease risk factors such as hypertension, high cholesterol and obesity through health education and promotional activities.

According to Datuk Dr Khoo Kah Lin, Director of the National Heart Foundation of Malaysia and also President-elect of the Malaysian Medical Association,” Our investment in heart disease awareness programmes have been increasing annually as we believe that empowering the community with information and other resources wil help them attain healthier lifestyles.
“We want the public to feel responsible sor their health and we are confident that this education video on Heart Health will yet be another resource to learn about heart disease prevention.”
Despite mounting research and advances in treatment, Malaysians are not getting the message that heart diseases is claiming more lives and has become the leading cause of morbidity, if not mortality in the country.

“Our common goal is to save lives”, said John Latham, Managing Director of Pfizer Malaysia. “With a collaborative effort, we hope to make the society aware of the risk factors for heart disease and to motivate them-with the help of their health care professionals to take an active role in their heart health,” he added.

The education video CD on Heart Health produced by the three organisations with the contribution of cardiovascular experts is distributed through doctors who are registered with NHAM and participating clinics nationwide. To attain a copy of the video, individuals are encouraged to visit their nearest healthcare professionals or contact NHF at 03-26934709 from Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

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