Merdeka Healthcare Birthday Wishes

Merdeka Healthcare Wishes - CodeBlue with Choe Tong Seng
What health policies should the government focus on as we reach our 62nd year of independence?
CTS: It is time that the country formulates a “National Health Policy” that is reviewed every three years to provide focus and drive the development for the future health care needs, services and structures etc to meet the changing demographics, health care deliveries, disease burden, new medical technologies, resource allocation in manpower and financials etc.
This is also to facilitate in synchronising and/or integrate “public and private health care” development and deliveries for the future, for example health care financing, better management of patient medicine adherence and safety etc.
As at present, different health care sub sector/ stakeholder has its own priority in the development of health care needs. Further, with each change of the Minister of Health, health care priorities often do change as well.
What do you think the government can do better in terms of health care?
CTS: 1) Mutual respect and transparency for public-private partnership stakeholders’ meetings/ dialogues. There is a suspicion by the private sector that often times the meetings/ dialogues are for endorsing the government programmes, rather than a meeting/ dialogue where consensus are agreed upon and then implemented.
2) Regulatory impact analysis should be carried out for any intended policy that may have a long-term impact for the rakyat and the industry, for example the price control and dispensing separation for medicines. Any decision made by the ministry should be objective and with full transparency, with the rakyat and the national interest in mind.
What kind of health allocations are you hoping for in the upcoming Budget 2020?
CTS: The government must allocate adequate financial funding for the health care sector. Over the last few years, only about 4.5 per cent of the GDP is contributed towards health care despite the growth of population, ageing population, changing disease burden, growing NCDs, cost of medicines and new medical technology etc.
Instead of “just looking at cutting cost” for short-term solutions, where the delivery of services of the health care to the rakyat could suffer and deteriorate, the government should, in addition, consider allocating 6 to 7 per cent of the GDP, as recommended by the WHO (World Health Organization) for developing nations, towards the health care sector. A healthy nation is the anchor towards achieving economic growth and stability.

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