Decentralisation of healthcare is a priority in healthcare reform, say S’wak NGOs

KUCHING: Decentralisation of healthcare at the state level is a key priority in healthcare reform towards developing effective primary healthcare, say nine Sarawak-based healthcare organisations.

The organisations, which represent the health cluster of the Sarawak CSO-SDG (Civil Society Organisations-Sustainable Development Goals) Alliance, said this was one of their recommendations towards the Health Ministry's Health White Paper.

They said further decentralisation was also needed within the state so that primary care clinics could cater to the needs of diverse communities by working in partnership with stakeholders, including community health promoters and relevant agencies.

"A well-funded, well-planned structure will rejuvenate primary healthcare in Sarawak, promote wellness and facilitate collaboration, leading to more user-friendly, effective and efficient community healthcare services, with the potential to reach people in their own homes," they said in a statement on Wednesday (Sept 28).

The organisations also recommended transparent data on addressing inequalities and allocating resources as well as broad-based healthcare governance with representatives from Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak.

Additionally, they said technology should be used to enable early intervention, treatment and specialist support in remote locations.

"For Sarawak, there is an urgent need for the essential infrastructure to be made available throughout the state.

"By 2030, the goal should be to provide telemedicine services to all rural clinics and to distribute the latest technologies that enable early detection of conditions even in remote areas," they added.

The organisations also called for a holistic approach to healthcare, covering mental health, palliative care, caring for caregivers, early support for families with special needs children, adolescent health and healthcare access for stateless persons and foreign workers.

"We call for cross-party support from Sarawak politicians to ensure the Health White Paper meets the needs of all living in the state.

"This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to fundamentally reshape healthcare and create sustainable structures to provide quality, universal health coverage," they said.

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