Health Minister: Sarawak needs to be centrepiece of Health White Paper to ensure increased accessibility

Khairy delivers his opening remarks for the HWP development at a townhall session held at the SGH Auditorium last night (Sept 5, 2022). Photo credit: MOH's Facebook page

By Nur Ashikin Louis

KUCHING, Sept 6: Sarawak needs to be the centrepiece of the Health White Paper (HWP) to ensure that accessibility is increased, says Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.

He said health accessibility remains a major concern in Sarawak and Sabah particularly to the interior and rural areas which should be highlighted in the white paper.

“I know you are going to say it is ‘lip service’ but there is a reason why this (Sarawak) is the first State that I chose to come to, because I know that Sarawak needs to be the centrepiece of the HWP ensuring that accessibility is increased.

“So it is not just Sarawak or Sabah per se, it is (health accessibility) to all the rural and interior areas. That is the challenge.

“If we can get it right for the rural and interior areas then this white paper has succeeded and ensuring that accessibility and equity is something that we have taken care of,” he said when concluding the townhall session on HWP development held at the Sarawak General Hospital (SGH) Auditorium here last night (Sept 5).

Khairy also gave his word to discuss on Sarawak’s request for better representation in the HWP advisory council with its co-chairmen – former health minister Tan Sri Dr S Subramaniam and Axiata Group chairman Tan Sri Shahril Ridza Ridzuan.

“I have asked the HWP advisory council to create working groups where these groups will engage in depth with different stakeholders so there was never an intention to appoint different professions onto the Council or else, there will be too much.

“But I do understand that there are concerns for instance, geographical representation from Sarawak and Sabah as well major professional representation from pharmacists, which we will definitely take that on board and we will discuss that with the co-chairmen of the advisory council,” he added. — DayakDaily