Sunday, July 02, 2006

Chua: Take charge of own health

Star: KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysians must take responsibility for their own health instead of relying completely on doctors, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek.
Dr Chua said his ministry was planning a RM22mil media campaign to make Malaysians aware of current health issues.
“The campaign will educate the public on the dangers and prevention of HIV/AIDS and dengue; how to stop smoking; about healthy living; and raising awareness about the blood disorder thalassaemia.
“Prevention is always better than cure and we hope that in five years, at least 80% of Malaysians will know about these five issues,” he said at the ministry's family day and the Healthy Eating Campaign launch yesterday.
Dr Chua said the ministry was also concerned that 27% or 4.2 million adult Malaysians were overweight and that 12% or 1.9 million adult Malaysians were obese.
“We hope to reduce obesity to 10% and increase the number of exercising adults from 12% to 15% within a year through the campaign,” he said, adding that community events and advertisements on public transport would also be used.
“As for HIV/AIDS, we want to tell the public not to hide the disease and give them the confidence to approach government clinics and hospitals for treatment and counselling.”
Dr Chua said shock messages would be used to let the public know that HIV is dangerous to the family and community.
The ministry, he said, also hoped to increase attendance at clinics that help people stop smoking from 3% to 10%, and improve the rehabilitation rate from 9% to 30% while reducing alcohol consumption from 23% to 20%.
“The Tak Nak campaign slogan has proven effective. So school buses and the electronic media will now play a role in telling people to quit smoking,” he added.
Thalassaemia awareness is low, he said, adding that he hoped parents would ensure their children go for blood screening.

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