Leveraging on technological advancement and public-private partnership for the betterment of the nation’s healthcare
BY KHIRTINI K KUMARAN
THE MINISTRY of Health (MoH) aims to provide the best healthcare services and for Malaysians to live a long healthy life. It is also committed to supporting transformation and partnerships that will aid the nation’s healthcare services, said its Deputy Minister Datuk Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali.
“The nation’s economy has grown exponentially. It is time for the healthcare industry to translate this success by providing the best healthcare system to the citizens,” he said in his opening keynote address at the 2nd Annual Future Hospital Strategy & Development Forum 2022.
“While our healthcare is among the best in Asia, the Covid-19 pandemic proved that there are some areas that will require improvements and change entirely.”
Embracing technological advancement
As Malaysia enters the endemic phase, the MoH will continue to support any idea that will aid the transformation of the nation’s healthcare system for the betterment of its citizens.
“Our goal is to provide the best healthcare services and for Malaysians to live a long healthy life. We live in the wake of heightened modernisation and rapid urbanisation, which should also translate to our healthcare systems.
“We need to adapt to the rapid change of the technological era. There hasn’t been any successful industry that did not welcome change with open arms, and the healthcare industry should be no different.
He also assured that some roles are still reserved exclusively for humans despite rapid technological advancements. Technologies will not be able to replace the human touch and comfort, he said, adding that it is crucial to care for the well-being of our frontliners and nurses.
“We also need to understand the value that cooperation between public and private entities can bring to the nation,” said Dr Noor Azmi.
“Outsourcing and partnership with the private sector are crucial for the betterment of the healthcare system for the patients.”
ProtectHealth Corporation Sdn Bhd (ProtectHealth) CEO Dato’ Dr Anas Alam Faizli acknowledged that Malaysia’s current healthcare system might not be sustainable in the long run despite being recognised internationally as a successful government-regulated health system.
“Sustainability is the key factor in our current economic situation. The health system’s growth should not rely on the public budget alone. It should leverage private money, such as from individuals and employers.
“Our country has a strong policy of harnessing the private sector as the engine of economic growth. And we must capitalise on this policy to ensure better access to healthcare for the people.”
“This way, we can benefit from all the health experts in the country, regardless of whether they are from the public or private sector.” Dr Anas’ presentation was on ‘Disparities in healthcare and how public-private partnership can bridge the gap’ on the Forum’s second day.
ProtectHealth, mandated to coordinate and manage national health financing and serve as a strategic purchaser for a public-private partnership to reduce cost, is the first to purchase services from the public and private sectors successfully.
The pandemic, he said, expedited the public-private partnership in the healthcare sector.
“Through the pandemic adversity, both sectors adopted the whole society approach to vaccinate Malaysians under the national vaccination programme.
“This is how the nation’s healthcare system should be, where the services and workload are shared between public and private healthcare sectors.
“I believe that Malaysians can steer a course towards a modern health system that will be equitable, efficient, effective, responsive and sustainable.”
Last-mile vaccination programme
As of March 28, 2022, 68.7 million doses had been inoculated. The majority of the adults are fully vaccinated, and 15.5 million adults have had their booster vaccination. In addition, over one million children have been vaccinated.
ProtectHealth, tasked to implement the private medical practitioners’ participation in the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme, contributed 48.8 per cent out of the 68.7 million doses.
“We are now entering the last mile of the vaccination programme. The MySejahtera booking system has been updated and rolled out, allowing individuals to book preferred PPV locations and times.
“We are also pushing the home vaccination service for those unable to visit the vaccination centres (PPV).
“The public can now register for their preferred PPV or have a team come to their home. We want to ensure everybody gets vaccinated and ensure that no one gets left behind.” — The Health