Most diabetics in Sarawak Chinese
By Nigel Edgar
KUCHING: Most diabetics in the state are Chinese, according to statistics from the state Health Department.
Department representative Dr Rohani Mat Bah yesterday said as of September this year, there were 56,658 diabetics in Sarawak on record with more possibly undetected.
“The Chinese top the list with 21.5 per cent followed by Malays at 17.5 per cent out of 56,658 Sarawakians registered having diabetes,” she told reporters after the opening of a free diabetes blood screening and exhibition at the Sungai Maong Community Hall.
Dr Rohani said out of the total number of Sarawak sufferers, 30 per cent suffer from complications such as kidney failure, gastroparesis, and urologic problems due to the long-term affect of the disease.
“The 56,658 Sarawakians are those registered in hospitals and medical centres. There are more who are unaware that they have diabetes. That is why we organise this free screening so that many would be educated and get early detection before they suffer from complications,” she said.
She said diabetes symptoms are hard to detect and frequent blood screening is the most effective method to detect it early.
“Symptoms are usually unseen. That is why we have to create awareness among the people.
“We have to educate the people because the disease is mainly caused by genetics.
“They must check their family background and medical history. That is the purpose of this free screening,” she said.
The free diabetes blood screening and exhibition was organised by the Sungai Maong Community Association, Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) Sungai Maong Area Committee, Malaysia Diabetes Association (MDA) Sarawak and Sarawak Health Department to mark World Diabetes Day.
About 100 mostly Sungai Maong residents turned up for the event.
Among those present at the opening were Deputy Works Minister and Stampin MP Datuk Yong Khoon Seng and MDA Sarawak chairman Dr William Voon.
Dr Voon earlier said that out of 100 Malaysians, 13 to 15 may be suffering from diabetes.
Yong said the statistics were alarming and called on Sarawakians to be strict with their diet.
“I think it is mainly because of their diet. They should control their diet because Sarawakians, Chinese in particular like very salty, oily and high carbohydrate food. That habit must be changed for the good of all,” he said.