Kuala Lumpur, 6 June 2018: Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) applauds the increase in allocation for health and initiatives for increasing health coverage under Pakatan Harapan (PH) government. However, IDEAS is concerned that the allocation would not automatically translate into better quality healthcare and suggests including greater monitoring and evaluation to get better value from increased allocation. IDEAS proposed that individual choice and responsibility should be at the core of any healthcare policy, and recommended adopting Nudging to encourage patients to adopt healthy lifestyles.
The new Health Minister, Dr. Dzulkefly Ahmad, aims for the country to achieve health expenditure of 6 to 7 percent of the GDP, of which half will be from public allocation. Commenting on that, Wan Ya Shin, Social Policy Analyst at IDEAS, said “The increase of allocation for healthcare would be necessary to advance the healthcare system, however the implementation needs to be well designed to ensure that it would not only result in an increase in facilities but also an improvement in the quality of healthcare. Therefore, a monitoring and evaluation system would be necessary to ensure efficiency, effectiveness, and to prevent wastage of allocation.”
On the Skim Peduli Sihat for the B40 households, Wan said that “The Skim Peduli Sihat is a health voucher scheme that strives towards broader health coverage and targets the lower income groups. It would provide the lower income groups with more choices and reduce the burden on public healthcare. This initiative would leverage on the private sector to enhance the coverage of primary healthcare.”
The PH manifesto also promises to harness greater focus on non-communicable diseases, mental health, women’s health, and palliative care. Wan opined that “The Ministry should approach these issues with financial prudence and leverage on the participation of the private sector. In tackling the rise of non-communicable diseases, Nudge could be used to encourage healthy lifestyle and support people to make more informed choices.”
IDEAS applauds the attention given to rare diseases which commands little attention due to the low prevalence. Wan expressed that “No one should be left behind in accessing quality healthcare, be it a common or rare health issue.”