KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 25 — The Health Ministry (MOH) will propose a resolution on ‘Behavioural Science for Better Health’ at the 152nd Session of the World Health Organisation (WHO) executive board in January 2023 and the 76th World Health Assembly in May 2023.
Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said behavioural science has been an integral part of the region’s success story in controlling the COVID-19 virus and minimising the disease burden.
“We are particularly drawn towards transforming our people to be more inclined towards health-seeking behaviour. Most people wait until they are very unwell before actively seeking care from the doctor.
“We need to evolve from sick care to healthcare and wellness to prevent these chronic illnesses stemming from unhealthy lifestyles. We call on the member states to support this resolution,” he said in his intervention note at the 73rd Session of the Regional Committee Meeting for the Western Pacific (73RCM WPRO) in Manila, the Philippines today.
He said Malaysia advocated for the shift from a disease-oriented model to a person-centred wellness approach that involves the entire government and society working together, and this was embedded in Health White Paper for Malaysia healthcare reform planning.
Emphasising that healthcare cannot succeed in a silo, Khairy said socioeconomic conditions that would enable people to remain healthy must be created – from poverty, education, housing, nutrition, planetary health and much more.
“This call goes hand in hand with our efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030,” he said.
Speaking on Malaysia’s commitment, he said the country was shifting its focus to intensify non-communicable disease (NCD) prevention as the country was facing a double burden of health issues related to the usage of conventional and electronic cigarettes among its population.
“The government has put forth a new Control of Tobacco Product and Smoking Bill – Generational End Game that will prohibit the sale and usage of all types of smoking products to our generation born from 2007 onwards.
“Despite the pushback from some lawmakers and the tobacco industry, we are determined that our vision for a tobacco-free generation will not waver,” he said.
Khairy added that Malaysia was also committed to addressing society’s mental health burden with the recently launched National Centre of Excellence for Mental Health (NCEMH).
He said this centre would integrate public, private and non-governmental actions to enable sharing of resources of mental health experts to translate research findings for policy and programme development.