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Medical tourists choosing Malaysia

5-Aug-2008

There has been a noticeable rise in the number of people seeking treatment abroad in Malaysia, figures from a recent survey show.

According to the Association of Private Hospitals in Malaysia, 232,161 foreign patients became medical tourists to the country in 2005, rising to 296,687 in 2006 and 341,288 in 2007.

Suresh Ponnudurai, chief executive officer of Malaysia Healthcare (MHC), believes that this is largely due to the competitive prices found in Malaysia, as well as the nation's world-class private hospitals.

He told the New Straits Times: "We need to promote ourselves aggressively in order to compete with other Asian countries. Most of the patients visiting Malaysia come from Indonesia and Singapore.

"We have people from some 34 countries visiting our website. Many of them come to Malaysia because of long waiting lists at hospitals in their own countries and because it is more affordable."

One such patient is Khaleda Mariam Sajjad, a 55-year-old teacher from Bangladesh who visited Malaysia for medical treatment.

She told the New Straits Times: "I knew I was suffering from arthritis for the past two years but after a thorough check-up, I was told I also suffer from osteoporosis.

"He [The doctor] prescribed medication to slow down the degeneration. I will be keeping in touch with the doctor through email about my condition."

Malaysia is expecting a further 28 per cent rise in demand for medical tourism from south-east Asia, Australia, New Zealand, the Middle East, Japan and Europe in the near future.

Hospital staff generally speak good English and patients can expect to pay around £2,110 for a breast enlargement or £2,900 for a facelift.

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