Strengthening healthcare, boosting R&D to be baked in

 KUALA LUMPUR: Budget 2022 to be tabled in Parliament tomorrow will ensure continued efforts to strengthen the national healthcare system, including emphasising research and development (R&D), so that the country is prepared in the event of a new wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said Budget 2022 would also focus on protecting and restoring lives and livelihoods as well as rebuilding the country’s resilience and spurring more sustainable post-pandemic reforms.

He said R&D would include production of Covid-19 vaccines not only for the use of the people, but with the potential to be exported to countries in need.

“Now we depend on vaccines from other countries; there was a time when vaccines (that were ordered) were so late (in arriving) that it affected our National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme.

“Therefore, R&D needs to be strengthened to produce not only Covid-19 vaccines but many other vaccines, besides new medicinal drugs,” Bernama quoted him as saying at the prime minister’s interview session with the media on Budget 2022 here yesterday.

According to him, even though more than 70% of the country’s population have been vaccinated, it was not a reason for the people to be complacent.

Instead, it was still necessary to be careful and continue to follow Covid-19 prevention standard operating procedure, he added.

He said in the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) for 2021-2025, one of the government’s priorities in the medium to long term was to restructure the country’s healthcare system.

Ismail Sabri added that the Malaysian Healthcare System Reform Blueprint would be introduced to transform the country’s healthcare system.

Elaborating on Budget 2022 where the health sector was concerned, Ismail Sabri said he had asked the Finance Ministry to place emphasis not only on the construction of new hospitals, but also rural clinics.

Ismail Sabri added that the construction of rural clinics, especially in Sabah and Sarawak, was very important due to the distant location of hospitals and the difficult routes that people had to travel to obtain services at health facilities.

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