by HARIZAH KAMEL
MALAYSIA needs to start shifting paradigms in healthcare as Covid-19 revealed the importance of healthcare transformation, health equity and access in communities.
“Health and wealth are interlinked. Health systems cross sectors to support more economically active societies,”Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba said in his keynote address today at the virtual Malaysian Healthcare Conference 2021 today.
In the fight against the pandemic, one area which is equally important to the ministry is mental health, not just among frontliners but the population in general.
“Proper strategies to manage human psychology, especially mental health, is very important to break the vicious cycle. We need to manage mental health using cognitive-behavioural approaches, mindfulness and spirituality.
“By practising the cognitive-behavioural, mindfulness, and spirituality strategies, we may enhance our acceptance, optimism and commitment to prepare for a ‘new or renewed normal’,” said the minister.
It also represents an important long-term opportunity to create more patient-centred health systems.
“It should facilitate continuous learning through sharing standardised data, and benchmarks and, as a result, employ resources more effectively to meet patient needs,” he added.
Meanwhile, former Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad noted in his keynote address the failure of surveillance systems that operate in silos.
“There’s a great need to invest in surveillance systems, this is how we can get our healthcare resilient and drive our position based on data.
“Data is ubiquitous, we could only manage this pandemic and future pandemic or endemic only when we have an assemblance of a functional surveillance system,” he explained.
Dr Dzulkefly also touched on what it takes to rebuild and reinstate the public’s trust on policymakers.
He stated the key factor undermining trust in public health measures is the ongoing politicisation by governments of the pandemic response, including jurisdictional and partisan disputes and the scapegoating of experts and advisory bodies.
He said a simple action that the government can take is to clarify the role of experts in providing advice that is then used by political leaders to develop policies.
“The media can also play an important role by clarifying the role of experts in advising governments and in educating themselves on the range of different disciplines involved in the Covid response,” he said.