By Kuah Guan Oo
Pix by Saliman Leman
Kuala Lumpur, 4 April 2011 – Sweden recognised as having one of the best public medical and healthcare services in the world financed by its taxpayers has offered to help Malaysia put in place a world class health and medical services.
Swedish Health Minister Goran Hagglund made the offer at a talk organised by the Institute of Occidental Studies (IKON) of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) here today.
Though there are differences in the systems and level of developments between the two countries, he said they could exchange knowledge as they have a lot to learn from each other.
Among the fundamental questions for both countries, he said, are whether their healthcare systems can give a better quality of life and are sustainable and efficient in the long term.
For this reason, he has brought with him a group of people in different medical and health business.
With a population of about 9.4 million, a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) estimated at more than US$330 billion for last year, the European nation has a per capita income of more than US$36,000.
Mr Hagglund said some 90 percent of Sweden’s healthcare and medical services are provided by public hospitals and clinics and the remainder by private establishments. There is a small number of people who bought medical insurance and for them, the question is how to get the “right mix” of the two.
To them, the most important consideration is how to ensure that medical care is provided on equal terms and needs of the people, not whether one can afford to pay for it or not.
While the state is responsible for the overall policy and laws, he said it is the 21 counties and the municipalities in the country that managed the medical and healthcare delivery service as well as the reward system for its health workers.
Mr Hagglund said Sweden is having an increasing number of elderly people and they are now looking for the best ways to take care of them, especially on diseases faced by the aged.
At the same time, they are encouraging more young people with better incentives to go to the medical and healthcare services, to replace those going into retirement.
The minister who is on an overnight visit, said they are constantly looking for ways to improve their healthcare services and their strategy is research and innovations,
while comparing their services with others.
He also emphasised how they had improved their healthcare and medical services by putting their different systems into a single ITC platform for doctors and patients to share information on treatment and others