Only 8 per cent use private healthcare in Temburong

National 1 minute, 33 seconds


TEMBURONG residents are over three times less likely to use public healthcare compared to residents in other districts, according to the Brunei Health Systems Survey (BHSS).

A research study published last year analysing BHSS results also revealed that Temburong residents were the least likely to access private healthcare, with only eight per cent of those surveyed using private healthcare over the past six months, compared to 58 per cent from Brunei-Muara, 45 per cent in Belait, and 39 per cent in Tutong.

Being isolated geographically from mainland Brunei and fewer healthcare facilities were cited as the main reasons behind less use and access to private and public healthcare in Temburong.

“Despite reduced financial barriers (in Brunei) and the presence of remote medical services and the flying medical services, rural populations are still less likely to utilise the healthcare system when compared to populations residing in more urban areas,” said the author, Elizabeth Michelle Tant, in her study.

Data from BHSS also suggests that the services readied for remote Temburong, including four flying medical service teams, “are not widely utilised”.

Ensuring equal access for rural populations, especially in cases where populations are isolated from the mainland, is a challenge faced amongst many Southeast Asian nations, she added.

Tant also cited previous research on an indigenous group in Temburong, who relied more on traditional and herbal medicine, but have grown to utilise government healthcare over time as a possible trend in the near future.

The author spent ten weeks in Brunei, assisting with the implementation of BHSS, which was conducted by the Ministry of Health (MoH) at the beginning March in 2013.

The survey is part of the MoH’s Masterplan and Healthcare Infrastructure Project, with the survey results hoped to assist with formatting short-, medium- and long-term strategies in line with the National 2035 Vision.

1,197 people across all four districts were surveyed.

The Brunei Times