KUALA LUMPUR, July 1 – Over 60 senior health professionals and health policy experts are scheduled to meet tomorrow to make proposals for the government’s White Paper on health care reform.
The United Nations University’s International Institute for Global Health (UNU-IIGH) said in a statement that the experts’ meeting it is convening will provide a platform for various experts from academia, think tanks, professional bodies, and civil society organisations to discuss key aspects of the health care reform agenda that Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin expects to table in Parliament in November.
UNU-IIGH’s meeting is set to discuss health care financing, primary and hospital care across the public and private sectors, human resources, medical products and devices, and a whole-of-society approach to health beyond the health sector.
“Malaysia needs a health system where the public and private sector are pulling together to meet the health needs of the rakyat in a fair and sustainable way, and where we can better prevent disease and sickness so that we avoid expensive treatments,” UNU-IIGH quoted Malaysian Medical Council (MMC) member Dr Milton Lum as saying.
Prof Dr Sharifa Ezat Wan Puteh from the National University of Malaysia (UKM) said the experts’ meeting organised by UNU-IIGH tomorrow showed the importance of the White Paper and the need for reform.
“All stakeholders need to coalesce around a vision for reform that will see the health system strengthened and better able to meet the challenges of the future,” she said.
Dr Indra Pathmanathan, a former World Bank health specialist and one of the key organisers of the meeting, said organisers would produce a report with key recommendations from the UNU-IIGH meeting tomorrow that would be submitted to Khairy’s office.
“We will also summarise the discussions and recommendations and make this available for journalists and members of the general public.”
Khairy previously said that his proposed Health White Paper on health care reform would encapsulate reforms spanning a period of 15 years, besides establishing an independent Healthcare Reform Commission to oversee the implementation of proposals.
At a forum in Singapore last month, he also suggested introducing social health insurance, where contributions into the fund would be on a sliding scale based on income and waived or fully subsidised for low-income earners.