KUALA LUMPUR: A RM60 million allocation for the provision of the pneumococcal vaccines to all children, was the best news for the Health Ministry.
Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad (pix) said apart from representing a fulfilment of the Pakatan Harapan manifesto, the allocation will provide much relief to medical specialists particularly paediatricians and paediatric associations.
He added that the allocation would also enable the ministry to intensify the provision of programmes, equipment and staff for clinics serving Orang Asli settlements, to curb the occurrence of infectious diseases such as the recent measles outbreak in Kuala Koh, Gua Musang in Kelantan.
The minister was speaking to reporters after the tabling of the 2020 Budget yesterday by Finance Minister Lim Guang Eng who had announced a total allocation of RM30.6 billion for the Health Ministry, out of which the RM60 million for the vaccine, would be provided as a start.
On the merging of tenders and the procurement of medicines worth RM500 million between the health, education and defence ministries, Dr Dzulkefly said it was a good intervention that would lower prices within all three ministries.
“It is the best method, especially with the current economic situation, we get to negotiate to reduce the price of medicine,” he added.
Meanwhile, Health Director-General Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah in a statement said the allocation of RM30.6 billion was the highest ever received in the ministry’s history.
“The ministry will use the allocation to strengthen the health delivery service to the people, especially those in the rural areas, the urban poor and Orang Asli community.
“It will also bring premier healthcare from the hospital to the community, patients and individuals, especially the B40 group, Orang Asli and those in the rural area,” he said.
Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng when tabling the budget said the government has also launched the Skim Peduli Kesihatan (PeKa B40) to provide screenings and early intervention for non-communicable diseases such as mental health and cancer for those aged between 50 and 60 years old.
So far, a total of 100,000 have benefited from this initiative and the government will expand its coverage to those aged 40 and above.
Meanwhile, Malaysian Public Health Physicians’ Association member Dr Othman Warijo believes the expansion of the PeKa B40 programme will enable more people to identify their health problems from the earliest stage possible.
“We know the B40 group is quite affected by the current economic condition, and having problems especially in seeking the best medical care, so the PeKa B40 programme will enable them to get the best treatment,” he said.
He also lauded the proposal to allocate RM59 million to increase the number of ambulances through cooperation with non-governmental ambulance services to ensure emergency services will be more responsive. — Bernama