MMA commends the government under the leadership of Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin for doing well in managing the Covid-19 situation in the country.
However, we believe certain improvements are necessary to more effectively manage cases of Covid-19 and meet the country’s growing health care demands.
We wish to thank Members of Parliament Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim and former Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye for recently highlighting certain concerns that need to be addressed in our health care system.
MMA agrees that a higher allocation is much needed for a robust health care system to manage the prolonged Covid-19 situation in the country.
The Covid-19 pandemic has clearly shown how much importance should be given to public healthcare. It has also exposed certain weaknesses in the system. MMA believes the recovery phase of the MCO may be the best time to look into and implement these much needed improvements.
We are witnessing now, the impact of a pandemic on our country’s economy. Many sectors have not recovered from the months under lockdown while a number of small and even large businesses have folded.
Billions of ringgit was spent by the government to aid the rakyat and revive the economy. But MMA believes it would be a higher cost to the country if public health care is not given the much needed support.
We could not agree more that money spent on improving our public health should not be seen as a cost but rather, an investment.
While Malaysia is world renowned for its public health care, there are areas that we still struggle with and there is much room for improvement.
We urge the government to look into the suggested 20% increase in allocations and prioritise spending on preventive medicine, education and the upgrading of primary care facilities.
Public health and primary care as the forefront of prevention are areas that should be given more emphasis in our healthcare system. The continual rise in cases of non-communicable diseases (NCD) is indeed a major concern.
An alarming 1.7 million people in Malaysia have all three risk factors for diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol — the three main NCDs. More will need to be spent on education and prevention efforts.
Aside from this, MMA had made recommendations to MOH and proposed working with the 7,000 well distributed, MOH-trained GPs throughout the country in managing cases of NCDs.
Primary care has a significant role in the effective management of NCDs. Outsourcing of NCD management to the private GP clinics which has long been overdue should be prioritised during the recovery period as it can significantly reduce overcrowding in our public health care facilities.
The closer, more regular scheduled appointments with GPs may also significantly improve health outcomes.
Dr N. Ganabaskaran is president of the Malaysian Medical Association.
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