Friday, June 15, 2007

Chua Calls For Defence Against New Health Threats

KUALA LUMPUR, June 14 (Bernama) -- Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek Thursday spoke of the need to have mechanisms and processes in place to reverse the trend of infectious diseases and to prepare for and overcome the looming threats of the newer ones.
He said many infectious diseases once thought to be controlled were now emerging and the people were now also confronted with newer health threats, ranging from diseases attributed to affluent lifestyle and modern-day living to mental stress, cancers and diseases resulting from the environment.
Unfortunately, there were no high-technology and quick-fix solutions and the foundation for the solutions was rigorous scientific proof derived from research, he said in his opening speech at the Kuala Lumpur-OIC Health Ministerial Conference 2007 at Bandar Sunway near here.
The four-day conference was officiated by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. Also present was OIC Secretary-General Prof Dr Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu.
Chua said the dramatic changes in society, technology and the environment, with the diminished effectiveness of certain approaches to disease control, had ushered in an era where the spectrum of infectious diseases was expanding.
Infectious diseases now remained the second leading cause of deaths worldwide, he said, adding that besides the natural ambient factors like climate, terrain and genetic makeup, man himself had also contributed to the spread of many infective agents.
He said these health problems not only contributed significantly to the burden of ill health in the population but also resulted in substantial costs to the health care system.
Health was a shared responsibility of individuals, families, communities, health care providers, health and health-related industries, non-governmental organisations and the government, he said.
As such, he said, collective action such as combining changes in individual lifestyles that emphasise fitness and health promotion with disease-prevention measures aimed at social, environmental and occupational causes were required to achieve and maintain the best possible health for all.

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