In conjunction with World Health Day 2018 (7 April), the UNU International Institute for Global Health (UNU-IIGH) collaborated with the Malaysia Ministry of Health and World Health Organization Country Officer (WHO Malaysia) to organise a forum on “Universal Health Coverage for Everyone, Everywhere”. The forum, held on 9 April in Putrajaya, was attended by several dignitaries, including the Malaysian Minister of Health, Director General of Health, Deputy Director General of Health (Public Health), and Secretary-General of Health as well as the UN Resident Coordinator for Malaysia and the UNDP Resident Representative for Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei Darussalam.
In opening remarks, Dr Lo Ying-Ru discussed the challenges that rising costs of healthcare pose to achieving universal health coverage (UHC), particularly in low- and medium-income countries. UNU-IIGH Director Prof. Pascale Allotey then discussed enabling access and the demand side of UHC. Datuk Seri S. Subramaniam talked about the achievements THAT Malaysia has made in UHC to date, then launched the WHO report “Monitoring Universal Health Coverage and Health in the Sustainable Development Goals: Baseline Report for the Western Pacific Region 2017”.
The forum’s second session featured a panel discussion. Topics included the epidemic of non-communicable diseases plaguing Malaysia; the foundations for UHC in Malaysia, the need to shift the focus from clinical care to public health, and the challenges of limited resources and high traffic among public hospitals; the WHO’s recommendations for “Sustaining UHC: Health Financing Options”; and experiences from the South-East Asia Community Observatory’S study of population health and well-being.
Issues highlighted by the audience during the Q&A session included the need to ensure healthcare for immigrant workers and safeguard public health, and closer coordination with (and allocation of resources to) NGOs that serve potential HIV-positive persons and other groups that may be reluctant to seek public healthcare.
For more, see the news story on the UNU-IIGH website.
An op-ed on “Lessons from Malaysia on Universal Health Coverage” was also published in conjunction with this forum.