Survey finds 10% of M'sians did not seek treatment due to financial factors

PETALING JAYA: Some 12.9% of Malaysians have been holding back from seeking medical treatment due to financial factors over the past year, according to the National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS) 2023.

“Among the respondents who refrained from seeking treatment from healthcare practitioners for their health problems - despite recognising the need for care - 12.9% reported that it was because treatment was too expensive, unaffordable, or due to a lack of money,” said the survey.

The NHMS 2023 had polled 9,177 persons with a response rate of 26.5% between July 21 and October 13 last year.

The report also noted that there were many public complaints about congestion and long waiting times at public hospitals.

According to the NHMS 2023, there was a decline in the utilisation of government facilities from 64.2% in 2019 to 48.9% last year.

“This suggests a notable increase in the utilisation of private outpatient services among the population in Malaysia compared to four years ago,” said the report.

The NHMS 2023 said that, at the same time, there was an increase in outpatient utilisation from 8.1% in 2019 to 12.5% in 2023.

According to the report, 61.5% of outpatient visits were paid for by the patients or their respective family members.

A total of 18.2% of patients had funded their medical services through insurance, while 11.8% of Malaysians, such as, among others, senior citizens and blood donors, were exempted from medical fees, said the report.

The NHMS 2023 also said that only one in four, or 8.6 million Malaysians, had sought oral healthcare services.

“On average, Malaysia had 33 visits per 100 population to a dentist per year in 2023.

“Compared to other countries, the average visits to a dentist reported in a year range from 47 to 160 visits per 100 population,” said the report.

The NHMS 2023 was launched by Health Minister Datuk Seri Dzulkefly Ahmad on Thursday (May 16).

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