Saturday, August 15, 2009

In Perspective

Leading causes of death in Malaysia, according to statistics obtained from WHO (2002 estimates).

Numbers are in thousands, arranged from highest to lowest. Comments mine, in hopes of simplifying some medical terms:

Ischaemic heart disease 13.4 (aka heart attack)

Cerebrovascular disease 10.2 (aka stroke)

Lower respiratory infections 6.9 (aka pneumonia, usually)

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 6.0 (often associated with smoking)

Hypertensive heart disease 5.6 (hypertension)

Trachea, bronchus, lung cancers 3.7 (more smokes?)

Road traffic accidents 3.5

Tuberculosis 3.4 (a lung infection, aka TB)

Nephritis and nephrosis 3.0 (kidney diseases)

Colon and rectum cancers 2.9


Violence 2.1

Breast cancer 2.0




Upper respiratory infections 0.2 (such as "normal" flu)



Total = 119.2


According to the same statistics, asthma (that’s me) kills 1400 Malaysians a year. Nobody gives a damn, no calls for cleaner air, no condemnation on public smoking… indeed they just puffed away and let it go downwind towards me. Those smoking in public toilets don’t even have to try – just set the trap and that’s it. In my younger days when asthma was a more “troublesome” part of my life, I will need help to climb the stairs when I leave the toilet.

And people continue to eat like pigs, live like sloths, smoke like chimneys, drive like maniacs, screw around without condoms, beat each other to death… Hardly any complains too!

Then came H1N1/09. 56 died in this country the last time I checked. It has been 3 months since the first case, 2 months since the first local transmission and 3 weeks since the first death. The reaction was nothing short of public uproar and panic. A casual alien observer might mistake the sudden fanatical hand-washing and mask-wearing as rituals of some kind of new religion, or perhaps a new fatwa (wait, fatwas aren’t nearly as effective).

What gives?


Blogger Ju said...

:) Its alll just the hype. Humans are pretty stupid and forgetful sometimes. If something is new, its scary or more wonderful than anything else that's ever been before.

August 15, 2009 11:46 AM  
Blogger Sara de Souza said...

aye. i'm okay with the fact that H1N1 is "over-rated" because at least the public is more aware and would take precaution towards their own health. it's still a virus that can kill so it's still a cause of concern.

but, i would have liked to see the same kind of concern towards the diseases you've just mentioned. especially diseases that can be prevented if there was enough awareness.

August 15, 2009 9:58 PM  
Blogger KohJL said...

Sara, you can start by having more greens in you diet xD


August 17, 2009 6:26 PM  

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