PETALING JAYA: Young Indian men suffer from a higher mortality rate due to a wide variety of factors affecting their livelihood and well-being, an epidemiologist said.
Dr Vinogiri Krishnan said the high incidence of death was the result of a “complex interplay of various socioeconomic, cultural and healthcare-related factors”.
She cited disparities in education and job opportunities as a leading cause.
“Young Indian men often face greater challenges in terms of lower income levels, limited access to quality education and reduced opportunities for upward mobility.
“Additionally, access to healthcare services may be more limited, with potential barriers such as affordability, language and cultural differences that can result in delayed or inadequate medical care,” said Vinogiri.
She also cited poor mental health as another factor that increases the probability of death among young Indian men, pointing to a 2019 infographic by Public Health Malaysia which revealed that Indians in the country had the highest suicide rate, at 3.67 deaths per 100,000 people.
Her comments follow an abridged life tables report released by the statistics department recently, which revealed that the life expectancy of Indian men was lower than that of Malaysians of other ethnicities.
Indian men in their early 20s returned a 1.01% probability of death.
Although appearing to be low, it is nearly double the rate within the Malay community and almost four times higher than Chinese men of the same age group.
From there, the rate diverges further from the average, peaking in the 65 to 69 age group, in which the probability of an Indian man dying hits 17.87%, compared to 12.7% across all races.
Sociologist Velan Kunjuraman said the issue of poverty within the Indian community must be addressed to allow for better access to healthcare.
“Mental health support programmes specifically tailored for young Indian men also need to be implemented, including early detection, intervention, and treatment for depression and suicide prevention,” he added.
Vinogiri said targeted educational programmes were needed to raise awareness about the risks of unhealthy behaviour and policies that address economic disparities, such as job training and creation.
“All this is imperative to improve the quality of life of Malaysian Indians, which in turn would lead to a lower mortality rate among younger Indian men,” she said.