KUALA LUMPUR, March 27 — The Ministry of Health (MOH) announced today an advisory council chaired by former Health director-general Dr Abu Bakar Suleiman to counsel the government on health care issues.
Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad said the Health Advisory Council’s immediate focus was on public-private partnerships in health care and human resource development, tasking it with a working paper for the ministry on those issues by the third quarter of the year.
He noted that Malaysia was facing various complex and long-term challenges in health care whose resolution involved all agencies and ministries, saying also that cooperation between the public and private sectors could improve the health care system.
“Therefore, the Ministry sees a need to provide a platform to enable experts and leaders outside MOH to share ideas and views, as well as to focus on issues and solutions related to the country’s health sector, without denying the current expertise in MOH,” Dzulkefly said in a statement.
The Health Advisory Council comprises seven ex-officio members who were chosen by Dzulkefly. They are council chairman Dr Abu Bakar (IMU Group chairman), Jemilah Mahmood (International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Partnerships, under secretary general), Kamal Mat Salih (Universiti Malaya professor of economy and development studies), Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman (Universiti Malaya medical faculty dean), Dr Musa Mohd Nordin (KPJ Damansara Hospital consultant paediatric expert), Dr Alex Matthews (Gleneagles Medical Centre consultant obstetrics and gynaecology expert), and Dr Yap Wei Aun (Harvard School of Public Health, Malaysia Health System Project, Country Technical Director).
Dzulkefly said the council would meet at least a dozen times a year.
“The council is also allowed to consult subject matter experts on matters outside the council’s expertise. The council can also set up temporary sub-committees to help in discussions on certain issues if needed,” he said.
The minister added that the Health Advisory Council has already met three times, when it identified the main factors affecting Malaysia’s “health performance” and discussed needed reforms to the health care system.
“This includes methods to restructure MOH, reforms in the public health care delivery system, human resource development, improving the country’s health financing system, public-private partnerships in health care, national health indicators, and health promotion and protection,” said Dzulkefly.
The Pakatan Harapan government has launched a few major health care initiatives — including the Peka B40 screening programme and mySalam critical illness insurance policy for the poor — amid concerns that the dual health care system is increasingly unsustainable.