Every year the World Health Organization (WHO) celebrates World Health Day on the 7th of April. The theme for this year’s World Health Day is “Building a fairer, healthier world for everyone“. This year the World Health Day is celebrated in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. The focus of the theme is a call for action to eliminate health inequalities. The world we live in is still an unequal one – the place where we live, work and play may make it harder for some to reach their full health potential, while others thrive.
Academics and student from the department been doing their parts to highlight the issues that should be addressed for a fairer, healthier world for everyone.
A fairer world for diabetic
Prof Dr Moy Foong Ming, Prof Dr Noran Naqiah Hairi and Dr Wan Kim Sui our Doctor of Public Health candidate wrote a letter highlighting the issue of diabetes in low- and middle-income countries which was published on Malaysiakini. They highlighted that the disparity in the diabetes trend can be partly explained by the disproportionate increase in obesity rates in low- and middle-income countries. Obesity is a risk factor for diabetes and is associated with the obesity-promoting environment; i.e., expensive healthy food choices and lack of safe environments and facilities to do physical activity. The economic burden of diabetes is enormous. The estimated productivity losses from premature deaths, absenteeism and presenteeism due to diabetes alone were RM5.7 billion in 2017.
The proposed the following measures to improve of people with diabetes:
- Get to know your personalised ABC goals from your doctors. Try to achieve them by adhering to medications, exercising regularly and eating sensibly.
- Do not miss appointments. Consider telemedicine, such as video or phone call, if this service is available to maintain good doctor-patient interaction.
- Leverage digital health technology (e.g., nutrition, physical activity, blood sugar monitoring apps) to support diabetes self-management.
- Join a diabetes support group. For instance, peer support may reduce disease-associated distress and improve health behaviours.
COVID-19 and achieving a fairer world
In an interview with Astro Radio, Prof Dr Victor Hoe discussed COVID-19 and building a fairer, healthier world for everyone.
Food Security among Urban Poor: A Year into the Pandemic
Associate Professor Dr Hazreen Abdul Majid from the Centre for Population Health and Dr Lye Chuan Way, Doctor of Public Health candidate from the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine was featured in The Sin Chew newspaper. With the rise in the unemployment rate in Malaysia hitting 5.3% last year, food insecurity simultaneously is on the rise leading to negative health outcomes including chronic diseases. They call out to all stakeholders to help tackle this plight by serving back to the community.