MMA: Our healthcare one of the best in the region
KUALA LUMPUR: Accessibility, quality and equity make the Malaysian healthcare system one of the best in the world not only for locals, but for foreigners as well.
The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) said the main reason Malaysia was able to offer world-class services in healthcare was due to the amount of money and effort spent on it by both the public and private sectors.
MMA president Dr Ravindran R Naidu told the New Straits Times that the two-tier healthcare system, made up of public and private sectors, had allowed Malaysia to attain the quality healthcare it boasts of today.
“Our healthcare system is very good in terms of accessibility, quality and equity.
“However, the public sector is now struggling to manage the workload as its budget has not grown in tandem with demand.
“Certainly we have one of the best healthcare systems in the region, and even in the world, considering the amount of money we spend,” he said.
However, Dr Ravindran said the government and the health sector could not rest on its laurels because increasing workloads and poorly planned expansions of medical colleges, among others, were presenting new challenges.
Despite so, the healthcare National Key Economic Area (NKEA) achieved 100 per cent of its key performance index for last year, as indicated in the National Transformation Programme (NTP) report for 2016.
Health minister Datuk Seri Dr S Subramaniam said in the report that the Malaysian Health System had been lauded as one of the best in the world and had managed to achieve Universal Health Coverage despite the country being only 60 years old.
“This healthy ecosystem needs to be enhanced further to allow collaboration, cooperation, smart partnerships, and mutually beneficial health policies and initiatives to be crafted to pave way for a better symbiotic relationship between the two systems (public and private sectors).
“The ministry plans to launch the Malaysian Health Transformation Initiative and I am pleased with the progress made.
“I am certain that this will help to converge the two systems together,” he said in the report.
Dr Ravindran further said that the country’s healthcare should be aware of issues of over-regulation and micro-management in the private healthcare system, which had the potential to impair productivity.
“The government, while announcing the enhancement of gatekeepers, is not doing anything to address this issue.
“More effort should be made by the government to enhance the available 6,500 private general practitioners’ (GP) clinics and 7,000 professional human capital as the gatekeepers that will reduce the healthcare burden.
“There should be more dialogue and involvement with the private sector, especially with the GPs. The GPs as gatekeepers can play an important role in promoting disease prevention, early detection and treatment of Non Communicable Diseases and its complications.”
Another noticeable achievement highlighted in the NTP report was the surge of healthcare travellers into the country and the revenue that came with it.
The report mentioned that the number of healthcare travellers increased from 643,000 in 2011 to 921,500 in 2016, generating a revenue of RM1.12 billion compared to RM527.3 million in 2011.
“Health tourism attracts many patients from Indonesia as costs are comparable for private healthcare and quality is much better.
“We also get patients coming for plastic surgery.
“In some countries, the waiting list for elective surgery can be very long, so patients come here as costs are reasonable, English is widely spoken and the quality of care is good to excellent,” Dr Ravindran said.