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12 June 2010

Malaysia's performance in health a benchmark

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Malaysia's health can be used as a benchmark by other developing countries, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said recently .

He said the salient features of Malaysia's achievements in health were universal access to a comprehensive public health sector, safety net for catastrophic expenditure for chronic illnesses, minimal or no co-payments for services in the public system and health services focused on health promotion and disease prevention with responsive private sector health system.

"Consequently, there have been significant improvements in the health status of our population with reduction in morbidity and mortality and an increased life expectancy," he said.

He said this when opening the 67th Malaysian Dental Association (MDA) Annual General Meeting, FDI International Scientific Convention and Trade Exhibition at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.

However, he said, the system of financing the present healthcare system could not be sustained because of the many challenges.

The main challenges were a growing public-private dichotomy, relative operational inefficiency between the two sectors, variations in practice and standard of care, rising healthcare cost and changing patterns of health expenditure.

The ministry was now working towards reform in the healthcare system where the role of the private sector would be significantly enhanced, he said.

Four levels of policy changes were required to transform the healthcare system, some of which were radical with huge implications, he said, adding that the details were being worked out and implementation would be done in phases.

"The public will be informed accordingly, but what I would like to stress right now is for all Malaysians to be aware that change is imminent and our workforce must develop appropriate skills to embrace, facilitate and implement that change," he added.

"In the health sector, we expect greater revenue to be generated by more aggressive participation in the healthcare travel industry, manufacturing of medical devices and pharmaceuticals," he said.


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