SHAH ALAM: Health Minister Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad has pledged to strengthen primary healthcare by revamping the government’s 1Malaysia clinics introduced under the former Barisan Nasional (BN) administration.
He said besides treating patients, the clinics needed to be empowered in all relevant areas of healthcare, including prevention of ailments through the promotion of a healthy lifestyle and environment.
“Many diseases develop because of lack of primary healthcare… It has been proven that with adequate preventive care, about 70% of stroke cases can be prevented,” he said.
Stressing the importance of encouraging early detection of diseases, he said the clinics could also be used to allow doctors to be trained to become specialists in family medicine.
He said his ministry would also encourage greater involvement of private healthcare players to ease the burden of public hospitals.
“I would like to take this opportunity to utilise the general practitioners, and work out a way where both government and private medical sectors can work together,” he told a forum at the Sinar Harian headquarters here today.
He said the rising cost of living had led to the private practitioners seeing reduced numbers of patients as more people opted for treatment at government facilities.
“The B40 group ((bottom 40% household income group) especially can no longer afford to visit private clinics and thus there is congestion in government hospitals,” he said.
Dzulkefly also said he was committed to working towards increasing the allocation for the ministry.
“According to data by the World Health Organisation (WHO), we are underspending (in health),” he said.
“I will make it my target to increase funds for the ministry. Should I fail, I will use all my connections to raise these allocations.
“In fact, I have already identified those who are able to contribute in this matter,” he said.