Malaysia and Philippines sign MoU to strengthen collaboration on healthcare

Areas of collaboration under the MoU include primary healthcare, health education and medical devices, amongst others.
By Dean Koh
07:16 PM

Above photo: Secretary of Health Francisco Duque III of the Philippines (left) and Malaysian Health Minister YB Datuk Seri Dr. Dzulkefly bin Ahmad (right) during the MoU signing in Malaysia. Credit: YB Datuk Seri Dr. Dzulkefly bin Ahmad's Facebook page.

Representatives from the health departments of Malaysia and the Philippines recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to collaborate further on the advancement of the health sector in the two countries. Secretary of Health Francisco Duque III of the Philippines and Malaysian Health Minister YB Datuk Seri Dr. Dzulkefly bin Ahmad met in Putrajaya, Malaysia on July 31 to discuss the strengthening of the two countries’ bilateral ties through collaborative activities for healthcare.

WHAT’S IT ABOUT

Under the MoU, both countries agreed to collaborate in the areas of:
primary healthcare; 
reproductive health; 
health education; 
human resources for health development; 
nutrition; 
exchange of information on issues related to food safety and quality including but not limited to rapid alert systems related to imported products; 
prevention and control of communicable diseases; 
prevention and control of non-communicable disease; 
regulatory control of pharmaceuticals;
traditional medicines, herbal medicine, health supplements and cosmetic products; 
medical devices; 
health tourism; 
health researches; and 
healthcare services.

A Joint Technical Working Group (JTWG), led by designated officials from the Health Ministries of both countries will be formed to facilitate and develop collaborative activities and oversee, monitor and evaluate the implementation of the said MoU on Cooperation in the Field of Health. Exchanges of information and documentation on health will also be done through this joint committee. 

Both parties also reaffirmed their commitment to support each other in joint activities, such as port-port collaboration on healthcare and vaccination programme for children in Alternative Learnings Centers, as part of efforts to help realize Universal Health Care under ASEAN.

RECENT DEVELOPMENTS IN MALAYSIA & THE PHILIPPINES

Malaysian Health Minister YB Datuk Seri Dr. Dzulkefly bin Ahmad said in July that it would cost up to RM1.5B to implement an EMR system for the 145 hospitals nationwide in Malaysia over the next five years. In February 2019, President Rodrigo R. Duterte of the Philippines officially signed the Universal Health Care (UHC) Act into law, which guarantees equitable access to quality and affordable healthcare services for all Filipinos. However, it still remains to be seen how the UHC Act will be implemented exactly.

ON THE RECORD

“We both hope that the outcome of this meeting will further strengthen the ties and cooperation in the management of cross-border issues relating to the health of both our countries and across various stakeholders, and we look forward to a lasting collaboration between both countries in tackling and resolving health issues,” Philippine Health Secretary Duque concluded in a statement.