Healthcare issues constantly rank as one of the top concerns for households, especially when disaster strikes a wage earner or when elderly loved ones inevitably succumb to one of the many non-communicable diseases that plague the nation.
Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa, in an opinion piece, said one of the key priorities of a compassionate government is ensuring accessible and equitable healthcare for all its citizens, especially the vulnerable and the disenfranchised.
As such, she said the Health White Paper (HWP) is necessary to address structural issues to improve overall prognosis of the nation’s healthcare system.
“I am under no delusion that providing quality and affordable healthcare for all Malaysians in a sustainable fashion can be done via a piece-meal approach. This is where the HWP looks into systemic and structural reforms to our healthcare system over the next 15 years.
“When it was tabled in Parliament last month, Alhamdulillah, it was positively received and approved by both the Dewan Rakyat and the Dewan Negara. The high level of interest by my fellow Members of Parliament is a reflection of the importance of the issue across the political spectrum,” she said.
Dr Zaliha said even though the government, through the Health Ministry (MOH), had recently introduced the Madani Medical Scheme (SPM), the ministry is aware that a workable and realistic plan is needed to address systemic weaknesses and leverages existing strengths across the healthcare landscape.
“Programmes such as SPM highlight our priorities, but also serve as a reminder of the roadblocks that exist for some members of the public in accessing adequate healthcare services.
“As we strive to narrow these gaps, we must also be cognisant of the fact that there are no quick fixes and that progress comes by working together and not against each other,” she said.
She added, even harder work awaits as the effort goes on to dissect the issues through technical working groups and come up with a prescription that seeks to provide sustainable long-term solutions.
As such, she welcomed any ideas and proposals that will help fulfil the vision of both the HWP and that of the Madani government, one in which the MOH is able to provide care and compassion in a just and sustainable fashion.
Meanwhile, in a Facebook post, Dr Zaliha said the MOH has identified 436 health clinics that require repair and upgrading works this year.
She said the ministry has targeted repairs for some 1,200 clinics and dilapidated facilities through three phases until 2025. — Bernama