Mar 10, 2012

Is the sky really falling?

PKR pledged today to look into forming a Health Service Commission in place of Putrajaya’s controversial 1 Care plan.

Dr Wan Azizah, who served as a government doctor for 14 years before she turned to activism and politics, pointed out that the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that government expenditure for a country’s healthcare bill should be between five and six per cent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

In 2008, she explained, Malaysia’s total healthcare expenditure was 4.8 per cent but government expenditure was a mere 2.2 per cent.

She added that in 2004, private health expenditure as a percentage of the GDP overtook government health expenditure for the first time.

“The 2010 World Health Report on Health Systems Financing by WHO clearly states that 20 to 40 per cent of health expenditure is wasted due to inefficiency,” she said.

Dr Wan Azizah, however, admitted there were weaknesses in the country’s current healthcare system but said Putrajaya was “mistaken” to think that introducing a new tax on Malaysians through 1 Care would be the solution.

In summary, our healthcare needs more money and better resource management.

The public healthcare urgently needs resuscitation. 1Care is unlikely the answer for a simple reason that it is not an answer. It only masquerades as the answer. Health Service Commission unfortunately, is also another fancy brand the Opposition trying to cook up.

But all we really need is not 1Care or Health Service Commission, but needs more money and better resource management.

A year ago, I remember vividly, the sky was falling.

Following that, there was a series of 'Chicken Little' events, where people who normally wouldn't step into this building, risked their butts to visit the site, out of concern, media pressure, responsibility or sheer hypocrisy.

Subsequently, the higher people (obviously with much more brainpower and all) decided to perform a fine-needle-aspiration-cytology (FNAC) to the building to confirm or reject the theory of the falling sky.

I spoken rather compulsively when the FNAC was being announced and till date, that incident had been the turning point of my superiors' perception and misconception of my respect for the department.

Personally, I believe the 'FNAC' is only softly indicated, mainly because of its cost implication, undetermined complications and the total absence of solution in event of a positive finding.

The amount of money, which goes into 5 or 6 figures, spent on this FNAC could have been used for something more beneficial in the department, where some instruments are appallingly lacking or of pre-war prestige.

As the building was being screwed, there were issues of the safety of this procedure, the implication of the debris dissemination, the sound and air pollution, disruption and improvisation of care and the probable disruption of patient's privacy.

The foundation of medicine teaches us to refrain from subjecting our patients from unnecessary investigation if it does not change the management or there is no solution to it.

And clearly, there wasn't any treatment available yet we just need to swallow them down with our hands behind our back. Bukkake-style, perhaps.

We were all told to take one step at a time, and now, we took a looooooong pause at this step after the FNAC confirmed and reconfirmed that the sky is indeed falling and going to fall anytime.

Decisions were made, but nothing materialize at our current financially-crippled state.

All things nice, sugar and spice, on the paper, just like 1Care.

Like what Russell Peters always quote in his stand-up "Somebody gonna get a hurt real bad. Somebody, Somebody. I didn't say who."

Nevertheless, don't we all know who is going to get hurt?

Till the next piece of sky falls down, this fragile building will be another forgotten geography of this wonderful island.

Martin Luther King Jr once said: History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.

Silence, I will not be, anymore.

No comments: