KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 12 – Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa today announced an initiative to provide free sanitary pads in the Ministry of Health (MOH) to combat period poverty.
The newly appointed health minister cited Scotland as an example with policies related to period poverty. Last August, Scotland became the first country in the world to make period products free for everyone, such as tampons and sanitary pads.
“As the first woman health minister, I believe that it’s good for us to launch this initiative in MOH itself – I will begin in the washroom of the minister’s office – where we will provide free sanitary pads,” Dr Zaliha said in her first speech to MOH staffers during the ministry’s monthly staff gathering at MOH’s federal headquarters in Putrajaya.
“This initiative may look small, but the impact is huge.”
Dr Zaliha also highlighted a new body camera initiative by MOH’s public health and pharmacy programmes for their health enforcers.
“The use of body cams will not only ensure transparency in enforcement, but it will protect the welfare and safety of enforcement officers in the course of their duty. The use of body cams by enforcement officers will be able to preserve MOH’s integrity and improve MOH’s image.”
Dr Zaliha further stressed on improving health care service delivery and access to quality and safe health care services.
“Quality and safe health care services should not just be focused on providing plenty of facilities, equipment, and human resources, but must also change from conventional type services to faster and more efficient services based on technology and digitalisation,” she said.
“Health care services can also be provided via sharing of services with other providers like the private sector.”
The new health minister, who is also Sekijang MP, highlighted her commitments to moving from sick care to health care and wellness; prioritising health care for women and children and senior citizens through the primary care system; non-communicable diseases (NCDs); and reforming health care service delivery, specifically to address long waiting times in health care facilities, modernising facilities, and more flexible operating hours.