Economist Intelligence report: Malaysia ranks third in cancer preparedness in APAC region

10-Jul-2020 Intellasia | TheStar | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Malaysia ranks third in cancer preparedness in the Asia Pacific region, according to a report released by The Economist Intelligence Unit (The EIU).

It revealed that Malaysia has an overall score of 80.3 out of 100, behind Australia (92.4) and South Korea (83.4), above the regional average of 66.5.

Malaysia recorded strong performances across the policy, planning and care delivery domains, but further progress can be made in the health systems and governance category to enhance overall cancer preparedness, according to the EIU report, Cancer preparedness in Asia-Pacific: Progress towards universal cancer control, sponsored by Roche, released on Wednesday (July 8).

The EIU report examined the findings from the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Index of Cancer Preparedness and described the complexities of the cancer challenge facing ten Asia-Pacific countries.

The countries are Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam.

As of 2017, cancer was the second leading cause of death in Malaysia and the cancer burden was expected to grow with changing demographics associated with an aging population and changing lifestyles.

With cancer burden in Asia-Pacific reaching an estimated 8.8 million cases in 2018, this Index looks at different responses to the cancer challenge and the essential elements needed to enhance preparedness in the region, said a statement by EIU.

Differences were observed between countries’ ability to address the cancer burden, it said.

Given that as many as 70 percent of cancer cases in low-and middle-income countries in Asia are diagnosed at a late stage, an emphasis on preventive services and moving from opportunistic to population-based screening is needed, it said.

The EIU report editor Jesse Quigley Jones said that while there was clear progress at the planning level, the translation of policy into health service delivery and improved cancer outcomes required more emphasis.

“While upper-middle-and lower-middle income countries are pulling together more comprehensive cancer control plans, our index showed weaker performance in health system governance and service deliver domains suggesting progress in addressing health infrastructure and service capacity is more limited.

“A renewed political commitment is needed to address the cancer burden, ” he said.

He also said that Malaysia was recognised for having one of the highest quality national cancer control plans in Asean for its National Strategic Plan for Cancer Control Programme (NSPCCP), as well as one of the top-rated cancer registries in the region.

“While Malaysia has had a strong growth in government spending for healthcare, the current level of spending is still inadequate to cope with non-communicable diseases, given the country’s rapidly ageing population.

“Like other middle-income countries, Malaysia should focus its efforts in closing persistent access gaps and ensuring quality of services across the cancer continuum through technological innovation, ” he said.

Overall, mechanisms to translate policy and planning to action are lacking in the region and gaps in service provision are of concern, it said.


Category: Malaysia

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