The local health ministry has plans to launch the Malaysian Health Transformation Initiative soon to converge public and private health systems as opposed to diverging them. Despite still being in the developmental phase, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said consultations would be held to obtain input from all stakeholders to ensure its long term viability and sustainability.

“The aim is to have a sustainable and resilient health system that provides equitable, affordable and accessible high quality health service to the rakyat,” remarked Dr Subramaniam in the National Transformation Programme (NTP) Annual Report released by the government on 23 May. “In the end, the public and nation will be the real winner from this finely balanced ecosystem,” he added.

The need for a balanced healthcare system

According to Dr Subramaniam, our nation has benefited from the dichotomous health system, over the years – whereby the private and public health system co-existed, and balanced one another to provide good health service to the public.

He further pointed out that the healthy ecosystem” needed to be improved further” – i.e. collaboration, cooperation, smart partnership and mutually beneficial initiatives and health policies and initiatives could be drawn up “to create a better symbiotic relationship between both systems.”

Comprehensive national strategy for improved outcomes

The Ministry of Health has also crafted a comprehensive national strategy – made in line with the Malaysian National Medicines Policy – to overcome challenges in the healthcare system.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of Sarawak Pharmacy Conference at the State Library recently, Dr Salmah Bahri, Pharmaceutical Services senior director, remarked that the approach aimed to ensure medicines were used sensibly, appropriately, safely and cost-effectively – towards building better health outcomes.

“This shall be achieved through the development and implementation of models of best practice, education and training, provision of timely and accurate information on medicines, while strengthening seamless care between public and private health care providers,” she added.

Conserving resources for economic growth

Irrational use of medicines still remain a pressing issue in most healthcare systems around the world with about 50% of patients failing to correctly take their medications, said Salmah.

“Wastage of health resources as well as widespread health hazards could occur as a result of overuse, underuse and misuse of medicines. This issue is known to be worse in developing countries where health systems are weaker,” she continued.

Meanwhile, initiatives under the Healthcare National Key Economic Areas (NKEA) which focus on the clinical research, pharmaceuticals, medical devices and healthcare travel sector achieved 100% of its Key Performance Indicator (KPI) last year.

The NPR Annual Report noted that, “The Healthcare NKEA will retain its focus on driving growth in key economic engines such as medical device exports and health travel, while also assisting with the implementation of the blueprint for health transformation to ensure the sector’s optimal utilisation of government resources”. MIMS

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