NM Amal, R Paramesarvathy, GH Tee, K Gurpreet, C Karuthan (2011). Prevelance of chronic illness and health seeking behaviour in Malaysian population: Results from The Third National Health Morbidity Survey (NHMS III) 2006. The Medical Journal of Malaysia 66(1): 41-46
The third National Health Morbidity Survey was conducted in 2006 on a nationally representative sample of population in Malaysia in order to obtain community-based data and information on the prevalence of chronic illness. Of 57,500 eligible respondents 56710 (98.6%) participated in the study. Estimated overall prevalence of chronic illness in the Malaysian population within a recall period of one year was 15.5% (95% CI 15.1% – 15.9%). Chronic illness was reported significantly higher among the females, 16.8% (16.3 – 17.3). The most common chronic illness was hypertension (7.9%, 7.6 – 8.2), followed by diabetes mellitus (4.0%, 3.8 – 4.2) and highest reported by the Indians (19.7%, 18.4 – 21.0). Among the respondents who had sought treatment for chronic illness from government health facilities, Malays (65.8%) and those with monthly household income of less than RM400 (76.6%) were the highest. Chinese (44.5%) and those with household income of RM5000 and above (54.3%) were the highest groups who sought treatment from the private health facilities. Most of the respondents reported mild illness was the main reason for not seeking treatment for their chronic illness. It is hoped that the results of this survey will help the Ministry of Health Malaysia to enhance health programmes and planning resource allocation in order to improve health status of the population.