Sunday, August 09, 2009

When the unavailability of free universal healthcare for ALL increases health risks of Malaysians -

We do not have free universal healthcare for all in Malaysia and hence...

- some of the poor would not have access to healthcare - for some the cost to travel to hospital is just too much (In UK - the government reimburses travel to and from the hospital for the fact all)

- for foreigners, there is at least the need to place a deposit of RM50 and more before they can get and receive public healthcare - and thereafter there are more payments to be made. (This means that many foreigners may not be even going to hoispitals when they are sick ...or when they have flu-like symptoms....)

- In Malaysia, unless you have a passport and a valid visa, government hospitals and clinics will not provide you with healthcare. You have to show your original passport - and even many who have them cannot do that because employers hold on to them...Also note that there are about 5 million undocumented migrants in Malaysia - and this number could be more. And without proper 'immigration documentation', there is literally no access to healthcare..

The Malaysian government seriously need to review its policies with regard to healthcare - and, I say we must have free universal healthcare..

Denial to healthcare to some only jeopardizes everyone else in the country - H1N1 flu, TB, etc...

Denial of healthcare to some is also a violation of human rights...

In Malaysia, if you do not have proper travel documents - you generally will not access to public healthcare (and also private healthcare)...

In Malaysia, if you do not have enough money, you generally will not have access to healthcare.. (And here, we have realize that it is sometimes more than just the cost of healthcare - but also the cost of getting to healthcare providers, as tolls, etc have made cost of travel expensive...)

And do we have awareness and education material out there in the various different languages - so that all in Malaysia can read it. Burmese, Nepali, Bangladeshi, Tamil, Vietnam, Cambodian, English, Chinese, Indonesian .....

And look at the report below, where we see the government is still paying too much attention to private healthcare (i.e. healthcare for only those who can afford it) - Please let us have free universal healthcare for all in Malaysia.

Malaysia can't even provide proper healthcare for all that is in Malaysia - and are talking about encouraging 'medical tourism' - the getting of 'rich' foreigners to come to Malaysia to get healthcare. Look at the National Heart Institute ...and see the local waiting list, how many die before they even get a chance to see a doctor...or receive the necessary treatment which would have seen them still living..

Three more people including a baby and a child died of Influenza A (H1N1), bringing the death toll to 18.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said the 16-month-old baby girl had fever, cough and runny nose for a week before she was admitted to hospital last Sunday.

He said the baby died of severe pneumonia with underlying A (H1N1) infection at Sultanah Aminah Hospital in Johor Baru on Friday.

A five-year-old boy with upper respiratory tract infection, died of encephalitis secondary to A (H1N1) at Tengku Ampuan Afzan Hospital in Kuantan on Friday, said Liow.

He said the other flu-hit victim was a 63-year-old asthmatic patient who died of severe pneumonia and underlying pulmonary tuberculosis.

“He had fever, runny nose and cough for five days before being admitted to Selayang Hospital last Sunday.’’

Liow said the country also recorded 53 new cases, bringing the total to 1,578.

“There are still 64 people warded at the hospital including two babies, two obese persons and a post-delivery mother in the high-risk group.’’

Liow has urged the public to practise good hygiene, avoid crowded places and shun big events.

However, he said the Merdeka celebrations at Bukit Jalil National Stadium this month would be held as planned for now.

“We will screen everyone including participants of the parade and the public before they enter the stadium,’’ he said.

He also called for private medical practitioners to give out masks to flu and cough patients as part of their treatment.

“The vaccine will only arrive by the end of the year. For now, we must prevent the flu from spreading,’’ he told a press conference after opening the Japan Clinic at HSC Medical Centre here Saturday.

Liow also urged local doctors to be more competitive following healthcare liberalisation.

The liberalisation, which is taking place in stages, enables foreign companies to open hospitals and foreign doctors to work in the country.

Liow said the ministry has so far opened up five sectors.


francis ngu said...

Whither "Health for All by 2020?"

francis ngu said...

Malaysian public health care has been relegated to second place since the Great Privatisation Leap Forward:
a BN government in abdication of its mandated responsibilities for Malaysians.

You have aptly highlighted affordability of transport, in addition to cost of private sector care, as affecting access. This cannot be more true than among the poor in E. Malaysia.

There is the dichotomy between world class care in private facilities and care in the less endowed private facilities, an inevitable outcome of widening income disparity and social inequality. The gap between metropolitan and rural, between Klang valley and E. Malaysia are other issues.

There is clear need for a paradigmatic policy renewal, examining underlying values and philosophy of such an important area of public policy as healthcare is. Unfortunately however, healthcare reforms involving financing, structural and strategic areas will only be possible contingent upon broader based political reform anchored on principles of social justice and good governance.

F. Ngu (M.B.,B.S., M.H.P.) of Sarawak.