Health White Paper: “Challenges are highlighted but solutions still insufficient,” says Galen Centre

THE Health White Paper has under-delivered on proposing solutions to some of the healthcare issues that plague the country, says a think tank.

According to a FMT report, Galen Centre for Health and Social Policy CEO Azrul Mohd Khalib said the policy document highlighted the major healthcare issues but yet the solutions remain insufficient.

These challenges include the plunging non-COVID-19 vaccination rates, delayed or backlog in cancer screenings and treatment, as well as the “significant attrition” in healthcare personnel working in the public health sector.

Meanwhile, Azrul also noted that the white paper failed to address the healthcare gap between the East Malaysian states and the peninsula.

“Sabah and Sarawak are mentioned in a single line as part of describing the challenges. How is that sufficient?” he told the news portal.

Azrul further added that the two states deserved their own section and focus due to their unique challenges and needs.

Calling the section on healthcare financing “confusing”, the Galen Centre head honcho said the paper at one point mentioned the need to review the current public healthcare fee structure to be better suited to affordability levels.

“However, on the same page, it emphasises the importance of providing comprehensive healthcare services without being tied to affordability issues,” he noted.

While the document decided to touch on the sustainable healthcare issue, Azrul said it appears that it “wants to be everything, for everyone, without offending anyone” and warned that it could “end up not achieving anything as a result”.

According to Azrul, a major difference was that this white paper would be tabled and debated in Parliament and was available to the public.

The document, set to be tabled in the Dewan Rakyat today, contains a comprehensive plan to reform the healthcare sector in phases over the next 15 years.

The 57-page document, released on the Parliament website, highlights four healthcare reform strategies: transforming healthcare service delivery; enhancing health promotion and disease prevention at all levels; ensuring sustainable and equitable healthcare financing; and strengthening the foundation and governance of the healthcare system. – June 14, 2023

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