doctorate in public health student, university of malaya
Economic burden of haze on respiratory health
Malaysia had face the periodic intense exposures to particulate matter of haze from both domestic sources such as increased traffic and constructions and also international sources such as open forest fires from our neighbour country. The short-term health effects of haze were mainly associated with respiratory illnesses. Two main diseases that contributed significantly to the highest proportion of healthcare utilization (as compared to other type of respiratory diseases) were acute exacerbation of asthma and COPD. This study consists of three main parts: first to measure the pollution levels, second to determine the healthcare utilization of haze-related respiratory illnesses, and third to calculate cost of management associated with haze-related respiratory illnesses during haze and non-haze episodes. Data analysis will be divided into descriptive and analytical analysis. Descriptive analysis will be done on the sociodemographic characteristics, PM10 levels, ecological variations, public healthcare facilities utilization and healthcare cost. Analytical analysis will be done to determine the association between sociodemographic characteristics and healthcare utilization, association and correlation between PM10 levels and healthcare utilization, association and correlation between PM10 levels and healthcare cost, and association and correlation between ecological variations and PM10 levels. This study will provide information on the disease and economic burden of haze-related respiratory illnesses that includes the actual cost of treatment of both inpatients and outpatients cases in public healthcare facilities from provider’s perspective. This is important for the policy makers to plan, prepare and allocate resources to control future impacts of haze-related illnesses.