The Malaysian Health Coalition (MHC) welcomes the efforts of the Ministry of Health (MOH) and Health Minister to reform Malaysia’s health system.
The Health White Paper (HWP) was placed as the centerpiece in the recent Health Policy Summit 2022 (15-16 Aug 2022), and the HWP will be tabled in Parliament in Nov/Dec 2022.
The MHC agrees with the overall strategies and principles highlighted during the Health Policy Summit.
We highlight three points for a holistic and effective HWP.
1. All ministries must be committed to ‘Health in All Policies’.
We applaud the call by the Minister to shift the focus from ‘sick-care’ to healthcare and general wellness.
However, the burden to proactively create a healthy Malaysia cannot and should not be borne by a single ministry.
The proposed HWP must trigger a planned and systemic change across the whole public administrative through different ministries and agencies.
This is in line with the HWP mission to restructure health financing and tackle different health determinants including social, environment, education and economic aspects.
These are beyond the scope and power of MOH alone. Therefore, we call for respective ministries to exhibit similar commitment to Health in All Policies.
2. Proper management of human resources is crucial for our health system.
Human resources management in our civil service is crucial for effective public healthcare services delivery.
While we welcome the 4000 permanent posts announced on 16 August 2022, we believe that we must tackle the root of the problem.
The HWP would serve as a suitable vehicle to strengthen the whole recruitment process, from as early as the undergraduate training level.
The HWP should also focus on the welfare and terms of service of all healthcare workers.
This would include revising the remuneration rate, distributing a fair workload among healthcare workers, and an anti-bullying and safe workplace culture.
3. A strong implementation body must be appointed.
We welcome the Health Minister’s statements about the need to re-evaluate the role of the MOH in the future health system. For this and other clear reasons, we need a strong implementation body to be appointed to ensure the success of the HWP.
Therefore, we welcome the MOH’s idea to establish an independent Health Reform Commission, in line with the principles described in our previous joint statement (12 July 2022).
With the current political instability, the Commission can focus on strengthening our health system despite any political transitions.
Malaysia has to capitalize on this unique timing and garner political will to push for these long-overdue reform efforts.
We look forward to a strategic HWP to create a proactive and preventive healthcare system, and we pledge support to the MOH in these efforts.