OCTOBER , 2021 | THE HEALTH
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| The Health says ... |
What after the pandemic ?
IT CAME as no surprise that Khairy Jamaluddin was appointed the new Health Minister when the cabinet line-up was announced recently .
He had done a fairly good job as cochairman of the Special Vaccine Supply Access Guarantee Committee ( JKJAV ) in stepping up the Covid-19 vaccination drive in a matter of months to one of the highest vaccination rates in the world . He was Science , Technology and Innovation Minister at that time .
Today , more than 80 per cent of the adult population have received both doses of the vaccine and more than 90 per cent their first dose .
But the credit must also go to the Ministry of Health ( MoH ) staff led by its Director-General Tan Sri Noor Hisham Abdullah who have toiled in containing the pandemic since March 2020 .
But what after the pandemic ? What lessons have we learnt from this bitter episode ?
Will our healthcare resources be expanded to cope with another such pandemic ? Will we have more public hospitals , polyclinics , clinics , doctors , and nurses ? How will we address the glaring imbalance in health infrastructure between States ?
Will we also step-up investments in technology and telemedicine and introduce the long overdue national health insurance scheme ?
Now is a good time as any to start addressing these issues . For a start , Khairy must ensure Budget 2022 includes a higher allocation for healthcare .
He has said the country needed another 28,000 medical specialists by 2030 . But if we can ’ t even offer a few thousand contract doctors permanent positions now , how are we going to recruit that many specialists ?
The just tabled 12th Malaysia Plan ( 2021- 2025 ) talks about redesigning the country ’ s healthcare service to ensure efficient and affordable healthcare delivery to the people .
It mentions that a blueprint for Malaysia Healthcare System Reform will be introduced as a new way forward for national healthcare system transformation . This will include public healthcare sector transformation , private healthcare sector regulatory reform and sustainable health financing .
Sounds good and ambitious on paper . But let ’ s hope all this is not mere political rhetoric .
And who can blame Malaysians for being skeptical ? After 11 such Malaysia Plans since independence , we are still struggling to cope .