Posted on 6 October 2016 - 04:35pm
Last updated on 6 October 2016 - 08:19pm
KUALA LUMPUR: The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Malaysia and healthcare provider Qualitas Medical Group today launched - "One Clinic, One Community, Qualitas Refugee Health Programme", to provide refugees primary healthcare which will in turn reduce spread of infection from communicable diseases.
The subsidised health service will be provided at any one of Qualitas 80 clinics nationwide.
Qualitas chairman and managing director Datuk Dr Noorul Ameen Mohamed Ishack said their aim was to provide medical services to these marginalised communities, and stop spread of communicable diseases to support the overall health of Malaysians.
"The programme will help address the primary healthcare issues faced by the refugee communities here in Malaysia," he said during the launch and Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signing between both groups at the Federal Hotel, here, today.
Having met representatives of the refugee community organisations for a briefing on the health programme, last week, Noorul said Qualitas for the past month has been piloting the health programme in four of its clinics close to large numbers of refugees.
"With the launch, Qualitas will extend the programme to all its other primary healthcare clinics throughout Malaysia," he added.
UNCHR's Malaysian representative Richard Towle said the programme will improve the welfare of refugee families.
"Life for refugees in Malaysia is very difficult. Because they are considered as illegal immigrants by law, they are unable to work legally in the country and are often unable to afford basic healthcare services
"Early treatment at primary healthcare facilities and better education can prevent illnesses, if left untreated, would cost more to refugee families and Malaysia," he said.
He said there are some 150,000 refugees currently registered with UNHCR, with majority coming from Myanmar.
While refugees have access to public and private healthcare facilities in the country but factors including cost, fear of movement, and language limitations prohibit access to healthcare services.
"Partnerships with private healthcare providers like Qualitas is a good example of private sector involvement in reducing the burden of healthcare on the public healthcare system, while ensuring that marginalised communities get the healthcare they need.
"This programme creates affordable healthcare for an extremely vulnerable population, thus curbing any public health problems within this group," he added.