Modern health care systems of today are predominantly derived from Western models and are either state owned or under private ownership. Government, through their health policies, generally aim to facilitate access for the majority of the population through the design of their health systems. However, there are communities, such as Indigenous peoples, who do not necessarily fall under the formal protection of state systems. Throughout history, these societies have developed different ways to provide health care to its population. These health care systems are held and managed under different property regimes with their attendant advantages and disadvantages. This article investigates the gaps in health coverage among Indigenous peoples using the Malaysian Indigenous peoples as a case study. It conceptually examines a commons approach to health care systems through a study of the traditional health care system of indigenous peoples and suggests how such an approach can help close this gap in the remaining gaps of universal health coverage.


The authors would like to acknowledge the valuable input from the reviewers in the preparation of this paper. Most of all, we wish to thank all the Orang Asli, the first and original people of Peninsular Malaysia, who were involved in this project.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.