PUTRAJAYA: Most parents who refuse to vaccinate their children are those who live in the cities and are highly educated, said Health Minister Dr S Subramaniam today.
“The ministry has detected nearly 1,600 children who did not get vaccinated last year and this figure is increasing every year. What we are concerned about is that these are educated people who know about the benefits of immunisation.
“It is a challenge to bring awareness to them and sometimes we have to argue with them about the benefits of vaccines for their children.
“There are some parents practising homoeopathy and believe homoeopathic medicine will protect against all kinds of illnesses,” he told a press conference at his ministry here today.
Subramaniam said this when asked to comment on the government studying a proposal to allow only vaccinated children to be enrolled in kindergartens.
Asked if there was a kindergarten in Malaysia already practising this, Subramaniam said he was uncertain of it but described the obligation to do so as a policy decision because it involved the right to education and the protection of other children.
In another development, Subramaniam said he had held discussions with private doctors and Managed Care Organisations (MCOs) as well as Third Party Administrators (TPA) on medical claims and obtained approval to adjust the fees under the provision of the Private Healthcare Facilities and Services Act 1998.
He said this was because his ministry received many complaints about TPAs in managing the health benefits of employees based on their own fees and regulations that doctors must follow.
“The matter is in the process of amendment and pending approval by the Attorney-General. It is expected to be completed in the coming months. Once completed, the fee payment will be consistent and doctors must comply with the prescribed fee.
“There are doctors who sign the agreement individually and charge fees as low as RM15. We are worried whether doctors who charge such low fees, will provide the best service to the people,” he said.
Subramaniam said the health ministry also suggested that doctors and MCOs, as well as MCOs and employers, enter into a contractual agreement to manage employee health benefits based on their own fees and rules that doctors must comply with, with the ministry playing a third-level monitoring role.