THE Malaysian healthcare system provides almost universal healthcare coverage (UHC). Its philosophy of not leaving anyone behind enables all Malaysians to access primary healthcare for a nominal RM1 to RM5 fee, which is vital for low income groups. Not many countries provide UHC and yet, amid many economic downturns over the years, the Malaysian government has managed to maintain an almost free healthcare system. This despite the fact that UHC is a huge financial drain on the government.
UHC, though not perfect, is the most effective means to respond to an infectious disease outbreak, especially compared with insurance-based medical programmes of countries like the United States. Malaysia’s healthcare response to the Covid-19 outbreak has been systematic and commendable, as we have seen since the first patient was diagnosed. Meanwhile, Americans are still grappling with who will foot the bill even for just the testing. Testing can cost a lot, so I consider we Malaysians a lucky lot.
To my disgust, in such a vulnerable time, there are Malaysians who ignore quarantine measures or refuse to submit to swab tests and could infect people. The wrongdoers and innocent will both fall sick and burden the healthcare system.
We must try not to place extra pressure on our healthcare work force compromising paramedics, doctors, nurses and other hospital employees – whom I regard as heroes today. But these heroes are human too and they are not immune to the disease. Who will treat us if they are among the sick?
The spread of Covid-19 will place enormous pressure on Malaysia’s UHC. Therefore, it is our duty as patriotic Malaysians to take prudent preventive measures to avoid getting infected. We have a duty to combat the spread of the disease, preserve UHC and not cause the government to go deeper into debt.
Here, I would like to express my utmost gratitude to everyone on the frontlines of combating Covid-19. You are in our prayers.
YAZMIN KHATAB , Kuala Lumpur
Source: The Star