Kuala Lumpur, 2 October 2019 — For the upcoming Budget 2020, the Galen Centre for Health & Social Policy calls upon the Malaysian Government to strengthen its commitment and emphasis on encouraging healthy behaviour with increased investments in preventive health.
This should involve a multi-ministerial approach involving the budgets of the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development, Ministry of Education and Ministry of Youth and Sports.
People need to be healthy, be responsible for their own health and invest in their own well-being to prevent the onset of non-communicable diseasesand be better prepared for medical emergencies such as catastrophic injuries and illnesses.
The funding for Peka B40, the Ministry of Health’s current pilot flagship programme to tackle non-communicable diseases, should be increased from RM100 million to RM200 million to allow for its continued development and expansion. Increased funding would help overcome early problems with enrollment of private clinics, include beneficiaries between the ages of 25 – 50 years, loosen restrictions related to the benefits provided, and increase the number of people who could benefit from this programme.
Introduce tax rebates for the M40 and T20, and subsidies for the B40 to participate in public sporting and outdoor recreational events such as runs and cycling. Participation costs should not be barriers for these activities. The Ministry of Youth and Sport’s successful Fit Malaysia programme should be continued and supported in 2020.
We support establishing a RM 50 million in seed funding for cancer treatment financing to encourage private sector ringgit-to-ringgit contribution. This could be a form of public-private-patient partnership where the government, private sector and patient co-pay for cancer treatment to increase the availability and quality of treatments, particularly those with advance cancers.
We recommend, as a pilot programme, that the Government earmarks an initial 5 percent from the collected revenue from alcohol and tobacco taxes (estimated RM 5.9 billion annually) to health promotion and treatment, focusing initially on diabetes and cancer. This could support up-scaling of innovative programmes or fund crucial lifesaving treatment.
We hope that there will be a separate and increased allocation (at least RM 50 million) for the treatment of rare diseases such as spinal muscular atrophy and lysosomal storage disorders. This would restore the allocation previously available to these patients in 2018.
The Minister of Health’s visits to Sarawak, Sabah and Orang Asli communities highlighted concerns which continue to need urgent attention. Long standing essential issues such as maternal health service coverage and even access to drinking water, remain woefully inadequate. In this Budget, the government should identify a clear and separate funded plan for improving healthcare for these communities. People are being left behind.
We support the Director General of Health’s recent call for an increased allocation in the health budget. We believe that it should be between 5-10 percent. However, a solution must be found to the problem of sustainable healthcare financing. Therefore the budget should reflect investment in developing a future national healthcare insurance framework.
We call on the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development to increase emphasis and funding for sexual reproductive health education programmes to help tackle teenage pregnancies and the increase in cases of sexual transmitted diseases.
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