Malaysia

Fast facts

  • All WHO Member States agreed to the global target to reduce population salt intake by 30% by 2025, towards the recommended level of less than 5g/day
  • Average salt intake among the Malaysian population is 8.7g/day, almost 4g higher than WHO recommendation
  • Ministry of Health Malaysia is supportive of a national salt reduction program

Partners

Ministry of Health, Malaysia

World Health Organization Country Office, Malaysia

World Health Organization Regional Office

World Health Organization Head Office

Background

Malaysia is experiencing a growing burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), putting increasing pressure on their health care systems. Cardiovascular disease contributes over a third of NCD deaths in Malaysia. Population salt reduction is a proven feasible and cost effective intervention to reduce NCDs. The WHO Collaborating Centre on Population Salt Reduction (WHO CC Salt) at the George Institute has a remit to support countries to achieve the global salt reduction target of 30% reduction by 2025 (toward WHO <5g recommendation). WHO CC Salt provides training on the development, implementation and monitoring of an effective salt reduction programme.

The Ministry of Health, Malaysia requested support from WHO to reduce salt intake in Malaysia through the effective delivery of consumer awareness campaigns to educate the population on the dangers of eating too much salt.

WHO CC Salt aims to support Malaysia Ministry of Health by training health professionals to develop and deliver health education and communication programmes to reduce population salt intake.

Aims

The aim of the two day workshop was to raise awareness of salt and ill health, review global best practice on salt reduction and identify activities to reduce salt intakes in Malaysia. The workshop was aimed at health professionals including nutritionists and dietitians with a view to building capacity to deliver health messages related to salt reduction within communities and health care settings.

The workshop also served to inform the development of a guideline for health professionals to deliver health education and communication programs, which could be used to train other health care professionals to deliver salt reduction messages.

Methods

The George Institute WHOCC Salt supported a workshop held by The Ministry of Health, Malaysia to train health care professionals to assess salt consumption patterns, including knowledge, attitudes and behaviour around salt consumption and to provide advice about the adverse health effects of eating too much salt and practical tips on how to reduce salt intake within communities.

The George Institute provided training using the WHO SHAKE The Salt Habit Package. This included presenting the evidence for salt reduction, current initiatives around the world, and an introduction to the SHAKE Package.

The workshop focused on Knowledge to Educate and communicate, empowering individuals to eat less salt. This workshop enabled the sharing of information and experiences from health care professionals within their current work in communities and was used to develop key messages, and communication plans to deliver health education related to salt reduction within the community.

Impact

The workshop resulted in a number of key outcomes; namely it gained the ongoing support of health professionals in the implementation and evaluation of a population salt reduction strategy.

Health professionals improved level of knowledge regarding the importance of salt reduction and developed key salt reduction messages.

The Ministry of Health is drafting guidelines to Health Professionals with specific change objectives for individuals and patient.