A shared experience in Health and Education are essential ingredients of nationhood. In healthcare, it is constructive to think in terms of the characteristics of a healthcare system that a substantial majority of our people would be enthusiastic to claim ownership. It is useful to think in terms of the elements of a 'charter for health for all Malaysians towards 2020' a) Healthcare for all Malaysians, that is equitable, accessible, and comprehensive. b) Care of quality given with courtesy and respect for patients and their families, with no financial barriers at the time of need. c) A commitment to healthcare of a quality that is appropriate to a Malaysia as a developed country by the Year 2020. Each Five-Year Plan should move in that direction, guided by extensive consultation with the community on priorities and preferences. We have to overcome the 'colonial hangover' that still leaves its mark. Health investment is still concentrated in the capital city, Kuala Lumpur, and in other cities. It is a hospital-centred system. The colonial hierarchy persists with its apex in the Capital city. Government servants are separated from other citizens in access to healthcare. Finally, health has low budget priority. However, there is good reason for optimism. A remarkable consensus has emerged between health professionals and government experts on the shape of a future health system for Malaysia. This is a considerable achievement, in contrasts to the bitter divisions that have characterised changes in other countries. There is still a long road ahead, so it is most important that the leaders of the Malaysian community make clear their preferences and priorities. The Ministry of Health speaks of a 'transformation' of the health system, and advises the medical profession to prepare for radical changes in their behaviour, and in the delivery and funding of healthcare. Four strands of change can be discerned. One, all the professions of health will have to provide evidence of competency, and must learn to monitor the quality of service they provide. Second, the great divide between public and private sector will end, and we have to find ways to integrate our services. Third, a Health Financing Authority may be established, providing hope to all Malaysians that their basic health needs will be met. As citizens, we have the duty to ask that there will be no 'privatisation' of the Health Financing Authority, or of the health facilities of the Ministry of Health. There is a fourth change, arising from our entry into the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Foreign investors will demand access to Malaysian markets, under a so-called 'Globalisation'. All professions will be affected. More serious is the danger of commercialised health care that will damage the health of the less well-off in our country, and raise the cost of health for all of us. Health and education are most important concerns for all of us, yet it strange that as citizens we have contributed so little to shaping the sort of health system that we want for our families and for ourselves. I hope that this meeting is a new beginning.
Dengue is a common cause of illness seen in primary care in the tropical and subtropical countries. An understanding of the course of disease progression, risk factors, recognition of the warning signs and look out for clinical problems during the different phases of the disease will enable primary care physicians to manage dengue fever in an appropriate and timely manner to reduce morbidity and mortality.
Marital and sexual counselling is an important aspect of the work of a primary care physician or family practitioner. The preventive aspect of this counselling is fairly obvious in the practice of family planning. The medical practitioners have to be aware of the socio-cultural background of his patients or refer to qualified allied health professionals.
Citation: Chee HL. Health and nutrition of the Orang Asli: The need for primary health care amidst economic transformation. In: Abd Rashid MR (editor). Indigenous Minorities of Peninsular Malaysia: Selected Issues and Ethnographies. Kuala Lumpur : Intersocietal and Scientific; 1995, p48-73