Malaysia in dire need of more palliative specialists

Well done: Khairy presenting prizes to winners at the 2022 World Hospice and Palliative Care Day Celebration programme at Hospital Rembau in Negri Sembilan. — Bernama

REMBAU: An estimated 218 palliative specialists are needed by the country since it is an important component of health protection and primary healthcare as stated by the World Health Organisation, says Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.

“In Malaysia, it is estimated that a total of 150,000 adult patients require palliative treatment. Although palliative services have grown in the country, the Health Ministry is only able to cover around 10-15% of the total number of people treated.

“For now, there are only 19 palliative specialists, with an additional 32 trainee medical specialists for the treatment in the country,” he said at the launch of World Hospice and Palliative Care Day 2022 at Hospital Rembau here yesterday.

Also present at the event – themed “Healing Hearts and Communities” – were Health Ministry secretary-general Datuk Harjeet Singh, Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah and National Palliative Services head Dr Richard Lim Boon Leong.

Khairy said palliative treatment was necessary considering the rising number of Malaysians facing terminal illnesses, adding that treatment was not just focused on helping the patients, but also on providing support to family members in facing the final phase of their loved ones’ lives.

He said that for the past three decades, a total of 30 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) had helped channel palliative care services to patients’ homes nationwide.

“Beginning from this year, most state hospitals have resident palliative specialists.

“As for Perlis, Terengganu and Kelantan, palliative medical services will be expanded by 2025,” he added. — Bernama

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