Prime Minister: health is not only the responsibility of the Ministry of Health

KUALA LUMPUR, 15 August – Health care is not the sole responsibility of the Ministry of Health (MOH) but other parties including stakeholders, public and private sectors and civil society, said today Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob today.

He acknowledged that Malaysia needed a comprehensive and thorough plan for health care reforms after two years of Covid-19, as the pandemic would not be the last to test the country’s health system.

“The White Paper on Health aims to comprehensively strengthen the country’s health care system, in line with the health needs of today’s population, in addition to ensuring preparedness for the challenges of the years to come,” said Ismail Sabri today in his official speech at the Health Policy Summit. 2022 organized by the MOH.

“This white paper will not only focus on transforming health service delivery, but also other aspects that impact the health of the Malaysian family.

“At the same time, the efficiency of the country’s health system should not be managed by the Ministry of Health alone, but should also be the responsibility of all parties such as stakeholders, public and private sectors. and non-governmental organizations”.

The Prime Minister further expressed hope that the Tobacco Products and Smoking Control Bill 2022 would be tabled at the next parliamentary meeting, following a review by a Dewan Rakyat Special Select Committee on the draft bill. law chaired by Khairy.

In his keynote address, Khairy acknowledged the social determinants of health, saying they must be addressed to ensure “health in all policies” of government.

“The White Paper will have to challenge every aspect of government to think about health outcomes if we are to be successful in keeping Malaysians healthy,” Khairy said.

“We must tackle poverty as a negative determinant of good health and similarly provide quality education; equitable access to services for all; protecting the environment, combating and reversing climate change; ensuring food and nutrition security; plan for more green, safe, open and livable spaces in our cities and towns; clean our waterways and water supplies; and enable each person to live a fulfilling and dignified life.

Khairy plans to table a health white paper in parliament by the end of the year on sweeping health care reforms for a 15-year period – including health financing reform, among other issues – which he suggests should be overseen by a health reform commission.

He quoted George Orwell’s ‘farm animal advocating to the Prime Minister for an increase in public healthcare funding to reach 5% of Malaysia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

“Mr. Prime Minister, I know that all ministries are asking you for money, but some ministries are more important than others,” the health minister said.

“At Orwell’s ‘farm animal’, all animals are created equal, but some are more equal than others,” Khairy said, citing Orwell’s allegorical novel that satirizes totalitarianism.

“The Ministry of Health is created more egalitarian than the others. Our core business is life or death.

The Minister of Health noted that Malaysia’s total public health expenditure was only 2.58% of GDP in 2020, about half of the 5% minimum recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Khairy pointed out to the Prime Minister that cancer patients wait three to four months in government hospitals for an MRI or CT scan, with the waiting list for MRI at Kuala Lumpur hospital reaching up to three months.

“That doesn’t even take into account the conditions in our village health centers and clinics.”

In his opening speech earlier, Khairy expressed his commitment to increase Malaysia’s annual budget allocation for public healthcare to 5% of GDP over the next few years, with increases to be earmarked in each subsequent budget. . He did not mention social health insurance.

Khairy also proposed an organizational change in Malaysia’s dual health care system by integrating public and private health care delivery, which could lead the MOH to delegate service delivery to focus on monitoring the public health, policy development, research, regulation, monitoring and evaluation.

Maria J. Book