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NCD related deaths on the rise

SOCSO: 6,500 employee deaths in 2016 owing to non-communicable diseases

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In a report by Free Malaysia Today, the Social Security Organisation (SOCSO) has revealed that non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are a major cause of death among employees under the age of 60. With over 6,500 such cases reported last year, NCD-related deaths have been on the rise since 2006.

SOCSO CEO Dr Mohammed Azman Aziz Mohammed said the figures were twice those recorded a decade ago. While attending a forum on healthcare organised by the Asian Strategy & Leadership Institute, he commented: “The number of deaths due to NCDs is greater than that of other causes, including road accidents.”

He also noted that over 14,000 employees became disabled as a result of NCDs, with the four main types of NCD being cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and strokes; cancer; chronic respiratory diseases including asthma; and diabetes.

Dr. Azman also gave a breakdown of statistics, revealing that an average of 46 workers died or has became disabled every day last year due to NCDs. He also highlight that this only applies for private sectors; and does not even included civil servants.

“So if you think 46 deaths and disabilities a day is high, then I’m sorry to say that this is an underestimation,” he said. He said compensation paid out due to NCDs had also surged by 50% over the past five years with last year’s estimated value of compensation was RM731 million.

“If the uptrend continues, the SOCSO fund will be depleted. And the way we are going, this will happen soon,” he said, adding that by 2030, NCDs would cost the nation a 5% loss in GDP, or US$30 billion (about RM133 billion). Currently, SOCSO insures about 6.5 million workers.

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Additionally, Dr Azman said a free health screening by SOCSO has found that 66% of more than 460,000 employees over 40 had never gone through a health screening before. It also found that some 73% of workers aged 40 and above are overweight or obese, while 62% have high or borderline cholesterol levels.

Other than that, about 9% of workers above 40 are diabetic, 20% are hypertensive and another 21% are pre-hypertensive.

In fact, 4% of all employees who underwent health screenings were at high risk of developing cardiac-related diseases in 10 years. Dr Azman said if employers were serious about wanting to tackle NCD, they have to ensure the environment promoted a healthier lifestyle.

Photo / 123RF

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