22 May 2018
Unlike the controversies surrounding the choice of the minister of education, which we in no uncertain terms debunked in an earlier mail (http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/opinion/2018/05/18/doctors-to-doctors-on-mahathirs-cabinet-line-up/), it was relatively plain sailing for the post of minister of health.
Notwithstanding, there are major and pressing issues within the health ministry which needs to be immediately addressed. Suffice to mention among these grievances, the dwindling budget allocation for health (2% of GDP in the public sector), shortage of hospital beds in the ministry of health (MOH), the lack of synergy between the MOH and the private health sector, incessant complaints from junior doctors due to a “toxic MOH work culture”, the need to harness the talent pool among health care professionals (HCP) to flourish the MOH centres of excellence to mitigate the brain drain, increasing the opportunities for medical officers to pursue postgraduate studies, the challenges of non-communicable diseases (NCD), and ageing population, plugging leakages in the MOH finances and the escalating costs of healthcare.
Therefore in our humble opinion, the next immediate, urgent and important task for YB Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad is to source for wisdom, experience and talented persons who will advise him professionally. His team need to headhunt for the best brains & hearts from amongst the medical fraternity for this national duty.
We, the rakyat, will not tolerate mediocrity in our quest for Universal Health Coverage (UHC) for our citizenry.
Just short of a royal commission, he will need to re-examine and re-evaluate the status of the health of Malaysians and the healthcare services currently available at service to the rakyat.
His advisors will need to report specifically on 4 areas of concern, namely;
1 the existing and future needs for accessible, safe and quality healthcare services,
2 the resources required to actualize these services
3 to make recommendations to the minister of the necessary infra-structure, provisions, resources (urgent and important, must have, can wait, can do without) and
4 zero towards the objective of universal health coverage “ensuring that all our rakyat have access to needed promotive, preventive, curative and rehabilitative health services, of sufficient quality to be effective, while also ensuring that the rakyat do not suffer financial hardship when paying for these services”
We are very sure that there have been studies to address some or all of these issues. They advisory board does not need to reinvent the wheel!
The wise, experienced and eminent persons on the advisory board should collate all of these information and synthesise the roadmap to ensure the good health of all Malaysians and the healthcare services required to actualise this.
In the final analysis, the KPI of the minister is to ensure ensure health for all Malaysians, that no Malaysian is left out, and that Malaysians stay healthy.
Dato’ Dr Musa Mohd Nordin
Damansara Specialist Hospital
Dr Johari Bux
Tung Shin Hospital