Ministry Of Health Malaysia Needs To Adopt The Decentralisation Strategy For Better Deliverables

ByAzleen Abdul Rahim

Every single day we see large hospitals around the country being swamped by people who require immediate medical attention. It’s just too many. No matter how many doctors and support ecosystems the ministry put in place, it won’t be enough. I’m not in the medical line, far from it. I’m just another concerned citizen who may one day need to join those people who are in the long queue waiting to be treated. And at that time, the situation could be worst than today.

These are my humbled suggestions to stop the madness, especially to minimise the present work overloaded of the doctors, nurses and the hospitals’ workforce. They might work, subject to further refinement of course.

Decentralise major treatments

At the moment, heavy responsibilities for major medical treatments are being handled by larger hospitals located in Klang Valley. We’re talking about Hospital Kuala Lumpur, Serdang Hospital and Selayang Hospital to name a few. Then, we have a number of general hospitals in each state. Besides that, these hospitals are being supported by several other decent-sized hospitals too. Even though these strategic infrastructures are being put in place, they’re not able to accommodate the crowd. It’s just too many.

It’s time to mobilise klinik kesihatan, build more medium-sized clinics and reignite a huge number of klinik desa around the country. The ministry can consider to better-equipt these clinics so that the crowd can be filtered accordingly. With better equipment, doctors and specialists, these clinics can conclude the majority of the medical cases there and then without having to refer to larger hospitals. As a matter of fact, small clinics can help the public on daily, non-serious cases too.

Offensive play

Today, I am seeing the ministry playing a defensive play most of the time. As we all know, the majority of Malaysians are leading a non-healthy lifestyle. One obvious reason is that our food is just too good and delicious. It is time for the ministry to be serious about playing offensive. Come up with impactful strategies and the right team to spread awareness to the public about living healthier. I’m not referring to programs that lasted a few hours officiated by some VIPs or politicians—no, not that one. The programs must be impactful and ongoing.

Go to primary and secondary schools, and start education programs there. Teach them about civics, cleanliness, morals and healthy lifestyles. These schoolchildren need to be educated early on this. We might not see the impact now, but in less than 10 years, we will see better Malaysians.

Another significant move the ministry can consider here is to make medical check-ups compulsory for all Malaysians. This small move might prevent serious, more expensive health issues that will ease the use of hospital beds, equipment and ICUs. You may not do it every 6 months as it might be too frequent. Or every 12 months is not a good idea too as it might be too late. The best is to do it, say every 8 months. Get every single citizen and permanent resident of Malaysia to go to any nearest government clinic for it. This is not free of course, and not expensive too.

Serious enforcement play

Malaysia is known for having great laws and regulations. But no enforcement is in play whatsoever. A good example is the smoking ban at restaurants and cafes. The idea is good but the enforcement is half-cooked. I think the ministry can overcome this easily by making the complaints easier, smoother and digital-friendly while the culprits and the food joints must be punished harshly. This is just one example.

I do not consider Malaysia a clean country. Many places are seriously dirty. In general, Malaysians lack civics. Perhaps the ministry can start from here by working hard on the enforcement to deter this habit of throwing trash in public places. Maybe the Singapore style works great here too, appoint undercover enforcement officials to punish those culprits. Or, you can also work the crowdsourcing way too—by getting the public to snap pictures and send the complaint to certain landing pages for you to take action.

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