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Malaysia - P4H Network
Current Health Expenditure (CHE) as % Gross Domestic Product (GDP)4.4%CHE/GDP
Out-of-pocket (OOPS) spending as % of Current Health Expenditure (CHE)32.1%OOP/CHE
Domestic General Government Health Expenditure (GGHE-D) as % General Government Expenditure (GGE)10.1%GGHE-D/GGE
Gross Domestic Product (GDP), in constant (2020) US$ per capita373BGDP (USD)
Population in thousands (K), millions (M) or billions (B)33.6MPopulation
Incidence of Catastrophic Health Spending at 10% Threshold (SDG 3.8.2) Total1.5%Catastrophic Health Spending
Malaysia is an upper middle-income country in Southeast Asia with a population of 33.6 million in 2021[1]. The country has achieved universal health coverage with high government subsidies through public health facilities since 1980s. Malaysia spent 3.8 % of GDP[2] and government health expenditures accounted for 52.2 % of current health expenditure in 2019[3]. Although out-of-pocket expenditure was relatively high at 34.6 % of current health expenditure in 2019 , catastrophic health expenditure was low at 1.52 % (greater than 10% of total household expenditure)[4].

Health protection and benefits for the needy population

In 2019, the Ministry of Health initiated Skim Peduli Kesihatan for the B40 group (PeKa B40) program to enhance healthcare access and financial risk protection among the low-income group at the bottom 40 % of household income range. The PeKa B40 emphasizes non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and health service benefits that include health screening, health aid (medical equipment), cancer treatment, and transport cost. Recent statistics suggest that it has motivated the low-income population to undergo NCD preventive screening in Malaysia[5].

Financial sustainability of the health system

Malaysia is moving from a medium to long-term healthcare reform. This planned reform is outlined in the Health White Paper to be presented to the Parliament in mid of 2023. The White Paper reform is expected to strengthen Malaysia’s health system to ensure equity, affordable, quality of healthcare services, and most importantly, sustainability of health system financing. It would mean to further improve the health system funded by government subsidies via taxation. At the same time, other sources of financing for health care such as national health insurance will be considered and explored following the pass of the White Paper[6] .