Thursday, May 03, 2007


YB MOH has made headlines again by announcing that 6 Malaysians suffer strokes per hour, with an annual rate of 52,000 per year. Then again, he says also that by year 2020, 25,000 Malaysians will suffer strokes, unless preventive measures are taken.

While his motives are correct and good, we have great doubts over the accuracy of the statistics. We do not know where he pulled the numbers from. Unless these are public hospital admissions extrapolated . The numbers do sound a little exaggerated. We do wonder about the accuracy of the diagnosis, especially if the numbers are coming out of MOH hospitals, where filling forms and making diagnosis is not their forte.

If the numbers quoted are indeed true, then we are easily in the developed country standard, at least stroke-wise. Americans suffer about 700,000 strokes per year. Sad to say, we have a lot of doubt about the accuracy of the stats. The other thing to note is that, if we are indeed seeing 52,000 cases of strokes per year, then how much healthcare dollar has gone into stroke rehabilitation. Where are the stroke centers?, and stroke rehab physios? and nurses?  Where are the facilities for disabled people, even in public hospitals and public places. There are certainly, inadequate neurologist and neuro-surgeins in Malaysia. I think that our CT scan facilities are adequate.How prepared are we to take care of so many strokes in the years ahead? We have not yet seen the development of a National Stroke Center. Certainly we have not forgotten his exhortation to lose weight, lower our salt and fat intake and cut down the sugars. We hear the message loud and clear. Somehow, although the message is clear,  the messenger may have made the message weaker.

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