A million M'sians suffer from asthma, says Chua

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia has about one million asthmatic patients, including 340,000 child asthmatics, resulting in the country losing 38.5 million school or work-days a year due to their illness, Health Minister Datuk Chua Jui Meng said yesterday.

"The high number of asthmatics is a cause for concern as not only are they suffering from the illness but they are also reducing productivity of the country due to the school or workdays lost," he said after opening the 3rd Malaysian Congress of Allergy and Immunology, here.

He said the country had 640,000 adult asthmatics in 2000 and this category contributed to 33 million school or work-days lost a year, while child asthmatics accounted for the remainder.

He said the school or workdays lost were due to workers or students suffering from the sickness, not attending work or school resulting in the big loss in productivity.

He said that in an effort to reduce this loss, the government was now encouraging doctors at all government hospitals to increase their knowledge in asthma and sinus ailments.

"These two illnesses are commonly present together and doctors have to be able to educate the people on the symptoms of the illnesses... we must make an effort to reduce the number of patients." he added. - Bernama