Which country does not want the best quality in health services?
Health relates very closely to productivity and the amount spent by employers and the government to keep it in check.
The Government spent RM4.6billion on fresh vaccines, consumables, and medicines for public hospitals in 2016.
How much will the government allocate to boost the quality of its healthcare in 2017?
Deputy Finance Minister II Dato Lee Chee Leong when addressing the Ministry’s Focus Group on Health Services says to date, Malaysia has been considered as one of the most successful healthcare system among developing countries.
It is one of the best based on the criteria of quality, affordability and accessibility.
The life expectancy has increased from 59.5 years in 1960 to 72.5 for males and 77.2 for females in 2014.
Infant mortality has decreased significantly from 84 for every 1,000 live births in 1960 to 7 for every 1,000 live births in 2013 and maternal mortality rate of 0.3 per 1,000 live births.
High costs in keeping employees healthy
Despite this achievement, Lee says one should not be complacent and stop improving.
The increasing prevalence of non-communicable disease (NCD) risk factor, the ageing Malaysian population as well as the fiscal constraints faced by the Government poses a new challenge to the Ministry of Health.
One cannot deny the fact that each and every individual should take charge and be responsible and accountable of their own health status especially in relation to non-communicable diseases, which is normally associated with the lifestyle of the individual themselves including their eating habits.
Ignoring this has contributed to steep increases in the cost of keeping employees healthy and productive.
Employees have also a wider choice of treatments stemming from new medical technologies, which burns a bigger hole in pockets of employers.
Medical inflation is currently running at 16.1% which many employers and organisations are struggling to manage.
Healthier, more productive workforce
Therefore at the recent Employee Health and Benefits (EHB) Seminar 2016, it was said that companies need to design a policy that not only addresses the cost side of the equation, but that helps achieve a healthier, more productive workforce.
Companies that develop health programmes that foster a well-informed, health-conscious workforce can ultimately lower costs, reduce absenteeism and raise productivity.
Stop criticising each other
Meantime, the Government remains committed to playing its role in improving health services and health status of Malaysians.
The time has come for all key stakeholders to discuss the common issues from various perspectives and to work hand in hand instead of criticising each other.
This is to ensure energy and effort put forth at pre-budget focus group meetings can be channeled in a more productive manner.
Tips for employers
Make your employees’ day-to-day experience safe and enjoyable. Think natural lighting, ergonomic workstations and well-ventilated air.
Providing quality health care. Employee health insurance is a proven boon to your bottom line: just under half of small businesses recently reported their companies would be more productive if they provided health care across the board.
Tips for employees
Getting the work-life balance right:
Creating clear boundaries between work and home, start a to do list, use the time on your commute home to wind down from work, ask for help if your workload is spiraling out of control.
Carry a water bottle to ensure body is hydrated and mind is fresh, bring home cooked food to work if possible, ensure proper sitting posture, get enough sleep, kick the caffeine habit, join weekend wellness sessions such as dance groups, yoga, aerobics etc.