| Azlan Othman |
THE transfer of patients across the border is facilitated through the collaboration between the Brunei Darussalam and Malaysia Ministries of Health by means of contact persons, to speed up whatever treatment they need.
This was said by Pehin Orang Kaya Johan Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Adanan bin Begawan Pehin Siraja Khatib Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Mohd Yusof, the Minister of Health, when asked to elaborate on cross border transfer of patients after the completion of the 7th Bilateral Ministers of Health Meeting between Brunei Darussalam and Malaysia yesterday.
“We have a successful conclusion of the joint work plan on cross border transfer of patients which have resulted in the establishment of harmonised procedures and guidelines as well as a very good networking amongst the health, immigration and customs of both countries that will assure continued effective facilitation of patients’ transfer.”
Datuk Seri Dr S Subramaniam, the Malaysian Minister of Health, in his response said Malaysia is ready to support and assist patients from Brunei recognising that Brunei’s health facilities are already good and at a high level.
There could be areas that Brunei could need further assistance and Malaysia is supportive and willing to help. The Ministry of Health in Malaysia has a structured system called the Malaysia Health Tourism Council which facilitates incoming patients.
“We look at all angles such as immigration, giving information, types of facilities and providing the best of healthcare and we monitor everything very closely,” said Datuk Seri Dr S Subramaniam. “The Brunei Ministry of Health could use the Malaysian Health Tourism Council in ensuring the smooth passage and get the best healthcare in Malaysia.”
Asked on how both countries could play a role in realising the Asean Economic Community aspiration by 2015, Datuk Seri Dr S Subramaniam said, “I see tremendous cooperation in tackling TB, dengue, malaria, and new diseases that are coming such as Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs). A common Asean agenda to meet this would be very useful. That is an area where the countries within Asean could work together, particularly after the establishment of the Asean Economic Community (AEC).
“We increase our cooperation in the level of Asean particularly by 2015 when Asean becomes a community and as Brunei Darussalam chairs the Asean Health Ministers Forum which will form the initial point in determining the direction of cooperation in the sector of health within Asean,” he added.
“It will be important with the development of Asean Economic Community (AEC) post 2015 and how the agenda of Asean could be structured so that common health issues which affect Asean as a whole could be handled through our collaborative mechanism.
“There are many areas that we could work together such as meeting the challenges of Non-Communicable Diseases within the Asean Community and in the development of tools in enhancing the level of health system in Asean as a whole.”
Meanwhile, the Minister of Health, Pehin Orang Kaya Johan Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Adanan said, “Collaboration between both countries and at the global level is crucial. We have to identify the common cause factors in communicable and non-communicable diseases with the latter being more challenging. The risk factors too are important to be highlighted such as obesity, eating non-healthy food and less physical activities. The challenge now is to correct the mindset of the people.”
“The most important task is to engage non-health sectors, civil societies and individuals to jointly combat NCDs through healthy lifestyle.”
Asked on the most significant achievement of the meeting, Pehin Orang Kaya Johan Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Adanan said that it was the enhancements of the collaborative efforts between both ministries.
“We enhance our cooperation from the senior to the ministerial level. The minister also lauded the cooperation from the media for their crucial part to relay to the public on how to change the behaviour to adapt a healthy lifestyle.”