KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 23 – Malaysia spent RM7.57 billion in health expenditure to fight Covid-19 in 2021, of which two-thirds (66 per cent) or nearly RM5 billion were on vaccines.
According to the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) Malaysia National Health Accounts (MNHA) Covid-19 Health Expenditure Estimation presentation last November 10, the total amount spent on health to contain the virus in 2021 marked a huge leap from the RM2.25 billion spent in 2020 largely due to the purchase and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines.
Spending for vaccination against Covid-19 included vaccine costs, vaccination campaign costs, distribution costs, service charges by doctors, nurses and other health professionals administering the vaccines, and organisational costs.
In addition to increased spending on Covid-19 vaccines, the country also reported higher spending on Covid related treatment (up 118.8 per cent year-on-year to RM722 million), Covid testing and contact tracing (up 92.7 per cent to RM528 million) and on governance and health system administration related to Covid-19 (up 54.6 per cent to RM490 million).
Expenditure on gross capital formation, which formed the bulk of Covid-19 health spending last year, was 40.5 per cent lower in 2021 at RM302 million.
Quarantine expenditure also reported a 26.6 per cent drop to RM207 million from the previous year, while spending on all other functions fell 35.3 per cent to RM331 million.
MOH was the main source of Covid-19 health financing in 2021. Graphic from the Ministry of Health’s Malaysia National Health Accounts (MNHA) presentation on November 10, 2022.
MOH was the main source of Covid-19 health financing in 2021 at RM5.79 billion or 76.5 per cent.
Public non-MOH agencies, comprising other federal agencies such as the National Disaster Management Agency (NADMA), the Science, Technology, and Innovation Ministry (MOSTI), the Higher Education Ministry (MOHE), state governments, and the Social Security Organisation (SOCSO) came in second with a contribution of RM1.33 billion (17.6 per cent).
Federal agencies, especially NADMA and MOSTI, formed the bulk of non-MOH contributions at RM962 million (72.2 per cent), followed by MOHE (RM150 million), state governments (RM138 million), SOCSO (RM44 million) and other public non-MOH sources (RM39 million).
Private sources and non-governmental organisations contributed RM304 million and RM106 million, respectively, while the rest of the world committed RM36 million.
The bulk of Covid-19 health expenditure in 2021 was channelled to ambulatory health care providers. Graphic from the Ministry of Health’s Malaysia National Health Accounts (MNHA) presentation on November 10, 2022.
Of the total RM7.57 billion spent on health expenditure for Covid-19 in 2021, 61.1 per cent of the funds went to the ambulatory health care providers amounting to RM4.62 billion.
The expenses on ambulatory health care covered spending for vaccination against Covid at RM4.23 billion (91.5 per cent), spending for Covid testing and contact tracing at RM367 million (7.9 per cent) and all other functions at RM23 million (less than one per cent).
Apart from ambulatory health care, funds also went to all hospitals amounting to RM995 million (13.1 per cent), provision and administration of public health programmes at RM844 million (11.2 per cent), the rest of the economy or other industries at RM671 million (8.9 per cent), institutions providing health-related services at RM350 million (4.6 per cent) and all other providers at RM85 million (1.1 per cent).
Malaysia’s preventive health care expenditure nearly triples in 2021 to RM10.17 billion from RM3.83 billion in 2019. Graphic from the Ministry of Health’s Malaysia National Health Accounts (MNHA) presentation on November 10, 2022.
Separately, another MNHA presentation on November 10 showed that Malaysia’s preventive care expenditure nearly tripled in 2021 to RM10.17 billion from RM3.83 billion in 2019 largely driven by efforts to control Covid-19 risks last year.
More than half (53.1 per cent) of the country’s spending on preventive care for the year were on immunisation programmes at RM5.4 billion, a huge increase from RM239 million in 2019.
The country also reported increased spending in other preventive care programmes such as early disease detection (up 75.7 per cent to RM1.19 billion) and epidemiological surveillance (up 34.7 per cent to RM955 million) in 2021 compared to pre-pandemic figures in 2019.
Expenditure on other preventive care measures also increased from less than RM1 million in 2019 to RM551 million in 2021, as well as on information and education programmes which rose x per cent to RM642 million from RM639 million over the same period.