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PM: Development of health white paper timely

PM: Development of health white paper timely

KUALA LUMPUR: The development of the Health White Paper comes at right time to make national health system more resilient in facing future challenges, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

He said the health challenges faced previously and what to expect in the future should serve as a basis to improve and strengthen the existing health system.

According to Ismail Sabri, after more than two years the Covid-19 pandemic hit the world, a comprehensive plan needed to be drawn up to ensure the well-being of Keluarga Malaysia remained strong in the future.

“Our country’s health system, either public or private, has been functioning perfectly well, enabling the majority of Keluarga Malaysia to enjoy a good health, especially when Covid-19 cases reached the peak.

“However, we should not be complacent because there will be many new obtacles arise that will challenge the level of effectiveness of the existing health system,” he said when officiating the Health Policy Summit 2022: The Future of Our Healthcare – Health White Paper Development here today.

The Prime Minister said the COVID-19 pandemic has presented serious health challenges for the coming years, including the issue of ageing population which posed a major challenge to the country’s health and social systems.

He said Malaysia was expected to reach the ageing nation status by 2030 when those aged 60 and above make up 15 per cent of the population, contributing to the increase in disease prevalence rates and demand for healthcare from the group which was estimated to be two to three times higher than that of younger adults.

Ismail Sabri said the rate of non-communicable diseases would also increase with one in five adults in the country has diabetes and one in three adults suffering from hypertension.

“Based on the National Health and Morbidity Survey 2019, these numbers are worrying because most of them are unaware that they have it causing them to have a risk of death. For example, 87 per cent of COVID-19 patients who died were those who suffered from at least one chronic disease, such as diabetes or hypertension.

“In addition, mental health problems are also on the rise, with 2.3 per cent of adults suffering from depression while 7.9 per cent of children aged between 5 and 15 having mental health issues, and this figure is expected to increase,” he said.

More to come.