Galen Wants Budget 2020 To Boost Health Prevention, Close Gaps

Suggestions touch on Peka B40, treatment of rare diseases, and earmarking alcohol and tobacco taxes for diabetes and cancer.

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 2 – The Galen Centre for Health and Social Policy urged the government to invest in health prevention in the upcoming Budget 2020.

“People need to be healthy, be responsible for their own health and invest in their own well-being to prevent the onset of non-communicable diseases and be better prepared for medical emergencies such as catastrophic injuries and illnesses,” Galen said in a statement.

Galen requested for the funding for Peka B40 to be increased from RM100 million to RM200 million to allow for its continued development and expansion.

“Increased funding would help overcome early problems with enrollment of private clinics, include beneficiaries between the ages of 25 – 50 years, loosen restrictions related to the benefits provided, and increase the number of people who could benefit from this programme,” it said.

Galen also suggested the roll out of tax rebates for the middle 40 per cent (M40) and top 20 per cent (T20) of income earners, and subsidies for the bottom 40 per cent (B40) to participate in public sporting and outdoor recreational events such as runs and cycling; and that the Ministry of Youth and Sport’s Fit Malaysia programme should be continued and supported in 2020.

Furthermore, Galen also suggested establishing RM50 million in seed funding for cancer treatment financing.

“This could be a form of public-private-patient partnership where the government, private sector and patient co-pay for cancer treatment to increase the availability and quality of treatments, particularly those with advanced cancers,” it explained.

Galen further requested the government to allocate an initial 5 percent from the collected revenue from alcohol and tobacco taxes, which is estimated at RM 5.9 billion annually, to health promotion and treatment, focusing initially on diabetes and cancer.

The organisation also touched on rare diseases, where it suggested a separate and increased allocation (at least RM 50 million) for the treatment of diseases such as spinal muscular atrophy and lysosomal storage disorders.

Speaking for Sabah, Sarawak and the Orang Asli communities, Galen requested that the government develop a clear and separate funded plan for improving health care for these communities, which should include maternal health service coverage and access to drinking water.

Throwing its support behind the Director General of Health’s recent call for an increased allocation in the health budget, Galen asked the government to formulate a better solution for sustainable health care financing.

“Therefore, the budget should reflect investment in developing a future national healthcare insurance framework, it said.

Finally, the centre called on the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development to strengthen focus and funding for sexual reproductive health education programmes to help tackle teenage pregnancies and the increase in cases of sexual transmitted diseases.

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