KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 1 — The country’s healthcare model should place more emphasis on preventive care to increase the people’s health resilience, especially as the world is hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Khazanah Research Institute (KRI) chairman Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop said that in 2018, only 6.2 per cent (RM3.7 billion) of total health expenditure by all parties including the government and the private sector was for preventive treatment.
“This amount should be increased, and existing studies show that spending on preventive steps has high value for money in the long run.
“By preventing diseases from occurring, spending on treatment can be reduced and thus lessen the burden on the national healthcare system,” he said.
He also said that health improvement can only be achieved when every component of the people’s well-being is enhanced.
A comprehensive social protection system should take into account needs in every phase of life, and the country’s social protection system must also be strengthened, he said.
He also stressed that the social protection system is not limited to old age savings or insurance in the event of misfortune, but it should ensure a reasonable standard of living for every citizen in every phase of life, from cradle to grave.
“This effort should start at the beginning of life by giving access to maternal care to pregnant mothers and unborn foetuses. A conducive environment that supports physical and mental growth should be provided to every child and teenager during school years,” he said.
In addition, he stressed that every employee should be protected by a national social security protection scheme to help them when faced with unforeseen circumstances such as workplace accidents, death or retrenchment.
He added that the pension and social security system after retirement age needs to be strengthened so that senior citizens are able to live with comfort and dignity during their retirement years.