MMA: Our health­care one of the best in the re­gion

New Straits Times - - News / Nation -

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.

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