MMA welcomes the appointment of Dr Zaliha as new Health Minister

THE Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) welcomes the appointment of the new Malaysia’s Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa.

Having been trained in the healthcare system and running her own private practice, Dr Zaliha is expected to be familiar with the issues on the ground in both public and private healthcare.

“The contract doctor issue will be one of the main issues we will be looking to Dr Zaliha’s leadership to resolve. We hope the number of permanent positions being committed for each year for the contract doctors can be improved from the current 1,500,” MMA president Dr Muruga Raj Rajathurai pointed out.

Dr Muruga Raj Rajathurai

“There are an estimated 18,000 contract doctors in the system with around 3,000 medical graduates entering the system each year.”

As healthcare needs of the population are increasing, working towards a more sustainable healthcare financing model must also be among the ministry’s priorities, according to Dr Muruga.

Furthermore, healthcare access in particular in the rural areas in the country also needs to improve.

As the 2023 budget will likely be reworked and re-tabled, it is hoped that more meaningful allocations be set aside to improve healthcare access in particular for rural communities in East Malaysia.

More specialists are also needed particularly in geriatric care as our ageing population is expected to increase by 15% in less than 10 years. To be ready, investments in both healthcare human resources and infrastructure will need to be planned now for the long term.

More effective prevention strategies are also needed to address the rising cases of non communicable diseases (NCDs). It is time we explore more collaborative efforts with the 8,000 over private GPs nationwide as prevention at the primary care level will be key.

“The MMA will be writing to Dr Zaliha and hopes to meet with her soon on addressing these concerns,” added Dr Muruga. — Dec 3, 2022

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