Contextualizing chronicity: a perspective from Malaysia
Chan, Carina KY
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Yasin, S., Chan, C.K., Reidpath, D.D. and Allotey, P. (2012) ‘Contextualizing chronicity: a perspective from Malaysia’, Globalization and Health, 8(1), p. 4. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1186/1744-8603-8-4.
The increasing prevalence of chronic Non Communicable Disease (NCD) around the world is well documented and projections suggest a frightening increase in prevalence around the world. The majority of new patients with chronic disease are expected to occur in developing countries. Effective management of chronic disease is a complex process that involves a proactive health care team working within an integrated healthcare delivery system supporting a well informed and confident patient skilled in self-management of the condition. There is increasing evidence especially from western countries that methods of implementation that use these principles work. Widespread and not contextualized dissemination of these approaches especially to less developed countries, however, would pose particular challenges. These challenges relate to a number of factors; a lack of resources, poorly functioning healthcare systems and their ability to cope, the rise of private financing for healthcare with increasing out-of-pocket payments for accessing healthcare, rapid industrialization and urbanization with attendant breakdown in support relationships and the general lack of support services including a social support model. We discuss some of these health system issues, using diabetes as the indicator condition, and the relating this to the Malaysian health system to illustrate the challenges of translating evidence from better resourced countries. Malaysia is a middle-income country with a well-functioning public health system designed primarily for control of communicable disease and Maternal and Child health. While a population approach in dealing with NCDs is key, we have highlighted an individual high-risk approach in this commentary. A number of patient support systems by professionals have been tested successfully in developed countries. In most developing countries, individuals especially the elderly depend on families to provide support. This and support from peers may be areas that may require further study especially in the area of self-management.