HEALTH MINISTER & TEAM DOING A GREAT JOB DESPITE THE CHALLENGES IN COVID 19 SAYS MALAYSIA ASEAN APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST PROF DR JACOB GEORGE

HEALTH MINISTER & TEAM DOING A GREAT JOB DESPITE THE CHALLENGES IN COVID 19 SAYS MALAYSIA ASEAN APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST PROF DR JACOB GEORGE

I am surprised that an opposition politician feels that Health Minister Adham Baba should explain in Parliament during the ministerial winding-up stage of the Budget 2021 debate why after 11 months, the government has failed to incorporate private healthcare in the fight against Covid-19 epidemic with the under-utilization of the sector’s capabilities.

I do not understand why such a matter needs to be politicized but for political desperadoes and ghost writers running short on topic for the masters?

I am certain that the private healthcare sector is welcome to join in the addressing of the Covid pandemic in Malaysia.

But to do that we should discuss that ‘elephant in the room’ namely the billing system and cost!

This is not simple to implement.

We all know that private hospitals are profit oriented.

First they must decide that they want to be part and parcel of this mission.

Secondly, it will be challenging how they will address the cost and billing system to match that of the public sector.

We must remember that there are enough examples of how certain private hospitals had taken in risky cases, even transplants, billed the patient a fortune then when complications arose or finances run out or the insurance coverage, they had come to the public sector with horror stories.

As a consumer advocate who comes from a family of medical practitioners,  which includes my wife, and in my case, who has clocked in over 40 years in public policy initiatives and issues, and many on healthcare issues, I fully agree that it would be marvelous if there is a marriage of duty between Malaysia’s public and private healthcare in the country’s management of Covid-19 as well as other healthcare needs.

But to do that let us address all periphery issues and not just make statements that raises more doubts and anger rather than provides solutions to a challenge we are currently facing.

We should never forgot that several notable practitioners in private healthcare are there not because they wanted to be but injustices, politics, favoritism, lack of promotions and a path for advancement implemented by the deep state forced them to leave the public sector.

So how would they feel at this over tune?

Many still angry how they were treated!

Are they included in the conversation?

What it looks now is this call is made because many Clinics and hospitals nationwide were reporting reduced patient attendance, some by as much as 70 percent to 80 percent with significant income reduction and sustainability of their practice severely threatened.

So it is more a survival instinct response rather than coming in with a conviction and dedication that they want to help and being prepared to drop drastically both the professional and hospital chargers!

It is food for thought for the 7,000 plus Health Ministry-trained general practitioners (GPs) and around 3,000 plus private specialists serving in more than 200 private hospitals, which includes the 2018 figures of 14,649 doctors, 5,174 pharmacists and 34,874 nurses nationwide.

In the meantime, Health Minister Adham Baba and team are doing their very best with what is available and I have full confidence in the Ministry of Health leadership and importantly the front liners.

In fact, I told him personally recently.

So can we depoliticize healthcare issues in our obsession to run down our political opponents?