number one killer disease -
The Borneo Post - Wednesday, 27 march, 2002
BAHARU: Tuberculosis or TB is now the number one killer among infectious
diseases in Malaysia, killing an average of three people and registering
41 new cases each day, said Health Minister Datuk Chua Jui Meng.
said last year's statistics showed 14,882 new cases with 1,156 deaths
reported throughout the country, making the mortality rate due to TB the
highest among infectious diseases.
is also higher than the mortality rate due to AIDS/ HIV, cholera and
dengue fever," he said when launching the national-level World TB Day
with the theme "Stop TB, Fight Poverty" at Senai yesterday.
said 10 per cent of TB patients last year were foreign workers who entered
the country legally and had been sent back to their countries of origin as
soon as they were detected as having suffered from the disease. Chua said
although the number of cases last year declined slightly compared with the
15,057 cases and 1,295 deaths due to TB in the year 2000, the rate of
infection at 62.5 cases for every 100,000 residents was still high
compared with the target of 40 cases for every 100,000 residents.
said Malaysians were fortunate because the government had a good TB
control programme which provided diagnostic and early TB detection
services as well as medicines free of charge at all government clinics and
stressed that TB was curable and that the government provided the best
medicines recognised by the World Health organisation (WHO) through the
Directly Observed Therapy - Short Course or DOTS which could cure 95 per
cent of the cases within six months.
efforts to reduce the TB ratio to 40 cases for every 100,000 residents, he
said the government provided various channels for the detection and
treatment of the disease including equipping all new clinics and hospitals
with x-ray machines and laboratories.
to reporters later, he said the government was prepared to double the
assistance which stood at RM600,000 a year currently for distribution to
various non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to be given to patients as
fare subsidy to go to hospitals and educational activities.
the theme for this year's celebration, he explained that TB infection
brought hardship to the sufferers and their families because the disease
affected the patient's source of income and required substantial funds for
another aspect, those living in poverty and in areas which are less
comfortable, congested and dirty are more exposed to the risk of TB
infection," he said.