Backgrounder for The Titiwangsa Declaration 2019
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Since December 2017, the National Health Policy (NHP) Committee of the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) was tasked with looking into the core issues of service and financing health care in the country. Chaired by Datuk Dr Teoh Siang Chin, the NHP Committee held consultations with various experts, the medical fraternity and stakeholders to explore gaps in health financing and delivery that still exists. The NHP Committee aims to reaffirm MMA’s position towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in line with the recent 40th anniversary of the 1978 Declaration of Alma Ata that was held in Astana, Kazakhstan.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) definition, UHC means that all people and communities can use the promotive, preventive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative health services they need, of sufficient quality to be effective, while also ensuring that the use of these services does not expose the user to financial hardship.

The Titiwangsa Declaration 2019 was inspired by the fervor of the Declaration of Alma-Ata themed ‘Health for All’ adopted during the International Conference on Primary Health Care organized by the WHO in Alma-Ata (now known as Almaty), in the former Soviet Socialist Republic (now known as Kazakhstan) in September 1978. The Alma-Ata declaration expressed the urgent need by all governments, healthcare providers and community to work together to protect and promote health for all.

In 2018, the International Conference on Primary Health Care returned to Kazakhstan, to its new gleaming capital city of Astana for the 40th year celebration of the Declaration of Alma-Ata to review the progress since 1978 with a new tagline – From Alma-Ata Towards Universal Health Coverage and the Sustainable Development Goal". A new Declaration of Astana, 2018 was adopted to affirm the commitment to the fundamental right of every human being to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health without distinction of any kind. It also reiterated the importance of primary healthcare as the cornerstone of a sustainable health system for Universal Health Coverage.

The Declaration of Astana further requires the promotion of preventative, curative, and rehabilitative services, palliative care, protecting people from poverty caused by disproportionate out-of-pocket healthcare expenditure, acting on addressing the shortage and uneven distribution of health workers, and to also to act on reducing the cost of health care and to reduce wastage. The four key areas pledged: (1) making bold political choices for health across all sectors (2) building sustainable primary health care (3) empowering individuals and communities (4) aligning stakeholder support to national strategies and plans.

In line with the aspirations, principles and commitments expressed and outlined in the visionary Astana Declaration of 2018, the MMA on Saturday 15th June, launched the Titiwangsa Declaration 2019 - a gesture to express the willingness of MMA and in with support of the medical associations, health organisations and members of the public, to work together with the Ministry of Health (MOH) to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC).This is also in line with the role of the MMA as inscribed in its constitution “to serve as the vehicle of the integrated voice of the whole profession and all or each of its segments both in relation to its own special problems and in relation to educating and directing public opinion on the problems of public health as affecting the community at large.”

The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) pledges 100 days from the launch to invite all medical associations, health organisations and members of the public to be a signatory of the Titiwangsa Declaration 2019. The declaration is named ‘Titiwangsa’ as Malaysia’s national hospital - Hospital Kuala Lumpur (HKL) and head offices of most of the medical associations are located in or around the vicinity. Titiwangsa is also the start of the main range of mountains which represents the backbone of Peninsula Malaysia, alluding to the good health of the population. The launch of the declaration was symbolically held at the Vistana Kuala Lumpur ‘Titiwangsa’.

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