PUTRAJAYA: The Health Ministry will be setting up an independent Health Advisory Council within 100 days to advise the ministry on strengthening healthcare delivery, said Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad.
“We want the council to be totally independent. While the Ministry provides the policy, stewardship and leadership, the expertswill be providing feedback on the direction and enhancement of healthcare services,” he said after former Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam handed over ministerial responsibilities to him in a ceremony yesterday.
A name Dr Dzulkefly mentioned as a possible candidate sitting in the council is former Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Abu Bakar Suleiman.
He, however, added that he will reveal the full list of names in the near future.
Dr Dzulkefly thanked Dr Subramaniam who had come up with many initiatives.
He added that he will continue with the initiatives and improve on them, while introducing new ones to ensure the ministry maintained its world class benchmark.
Besides the council, he said that the Ministry would initiate the Peduli Sihat scheme within 100 days as promised in the Pakatan Harapan manifesto.
Through the scheme, RM500 worth of monetary assistance will be granted to the B40 class (Malaysian households earning RM3,900 a month or less) for them to have access to healthcare services at registered private medical institutions.
“We will commit to maintaining universal health coverage – healthcare which covers all segment of society especially the lower B40 income group,” Dr Dzulkefly said.
The other move that the ministry will implement within 100 days is the voluntary health insurance started by Dr Subramaniam, he added.
Dr Dzulkefly said that the target of achieving 6% or 7% of the GDP for healthcare spending that he announced on Tuesday will be staggered or stepped up each year from the current 4.4%.
“I hope by the end of my five-year tenor, we will achieve 7%, an affordable and good quality healthcare can be achieved,” he said.
At the ceremony, Dr Subramaniam thanked Dr Dzulkefly for showing interest in the initiatives that he had started.