KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 24 — The outpatient treatment of chronic diabetes and high blood pressure patients at government health facilities was estimated to cost RM3.2 billion this year.
This amounts to about 11 per cent of the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) RM28.7 billion 2019 budget.
MOH said it has previously estimated the costs of outpatient treatment for chronic diabetes and/ or high blood pressure that covers infrastructure, consultations, lab tests, and medicines, but its projection excludes the cost of inpatient treatment for complications arising from such chronic conditions.
“According to current prices for the year 2019, the cost of covering the treatment of chronic patients at government facilities is estimated at RM3.2 billion,” MOH said in a written parliamentary reply to Senator Rahimah Mahamad in Dewan Negara last December 11.
According to the National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS) 2015, the most recent data available, 17.5 per cent of the Malaysian population, or an estimated 3.5 million adults, suffered from diabetes.
The NHMS also estimated that hypertension, or high blood pressure, affected about one of three adults aged 18 and above at 30.3 per cent, or 6.1 million people in Malaysia.
Obesity is also rising in Malaysia, as about 17.7 per cent of adults (3.3 million people) are obese, while 30 per cent of adults (5.6 million people) are overweight, which means that almost half of the Malaysian population is overweight or obese.
A total of 59.3 per cent of diabetes patients sought treatment at government health clinics, 20 per cent at public hospitals, and the remaining 20.7 per cent at private facilities.
As for hypertension patients, 58.3 per cent were treated in government health clinics, 17.7 per cent in public hospitals, and the remaining 24 per cent in private facilities.
According to the National Diabetes Registry that monitors diabetes patients in selected MOH health clinics and hospitals, 875,278 diabetes patients are actively seeking treatment in those facilities.
Up until last September 30, MOH said it has employed 5,314 medical specialists, 24,253 medical officers, 7,987 pharmacy officers, 160 medical rehabilitation officers (physiotherapy), 169 imaging officers (X-ray technicians), 2,493 X-ray technicians (diagnostic), 249 X-ray technicians (therapy), 65,117 nurses, 13,986 assistant medical officers, 4,101 assistant pharmacy officers, and 1,383 physiotherapists.