Axios International’s Director of Global Consulting, Roshel Jayasundera has highlighted that a subsidised myopic approach for healthcare is a good start to have but a specific approach is needed for the future.
On January 24, 2019, Former Prime Minister, Dr. Mahathir Mohamad launched, mySalam which is a free takaful income assistance scheme by the government which provides takaful protection for eligible individuals.
On April 15, 2019, the Skim Peduli Kesihatan for the B40 group (PeKa B40) was launched by the government via the Ministry of Health (MoH) which aims to sustain the healthcare needs of low-income groups by focusing on non-communicable diseases (NCD).
“The mySalam and PeKa B40 are good initiatives by the government to provide a kind of universal healthcare. But, those only cover the basics like any other universal healthcare would and not into chronic diseases,” Roshel said.
She also added that healthcare is not only the responsibility of the public sector, but the private sector should also be more proactive.
“We need to look into a patients’ perspective. Healthcare personnel must understand the challenges for patients to access the healthcare provider to the extent of knowing that the patients will continue to have treatment.
That is why a more collaborative approach between the government and the public sector is needed in the healthcare industry in Malaysia,” she emphasised.
The panelists agreed that the adoption of digital tools has certainly addressed some of the urgent healthcare challenges, but a lot more needs to be done to ensure sustainable healthcare access amongst Malaysians, especially now as the country prepares itself for a rapidly ageing population and a rising life expectancy.
The Covid-19 outbreak has also exposed glaring gaps in the Malaysian healthcare ecosystem with its inability to reach patients outside healthcare institutions, exacerbated by the rising rate of non-communicable diseases (NCD) and an overstressed healthcare workforce.