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Health care in Malaysia

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Wondering about Malaysia's health care system and services offered to foreigners? Find the answers to your queries in this article.

If you are traveling to Malaysia, whether for a long or short stay, health care will be one of your main concerns. In fact, the country's health care system is very open to foreigners. Many of them even visit the country so as to receive special care from this very developed and modern system, consisting of the public and private sectors.

Health care system

The Malaysian public health care system is governed by the Ministry of Health and includes a network of general hospitals, district hospitals and clinics offering quality care services. There are accessible to all residents, including foreigners. Moreover, some cases are referred to specialized hospitals which operate on a national level.

Note that the Malaysian health care system involves contributions to the Social Security Fund and the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) so as to maintain the quality of health care provided in the public sector. However, access to medical care is still limited in rural and remote regions.

 Good to know:

Public and private hospitals are equipped with a 24/7 emergency service.

Conditions

Free health care, other than emergency treatment, is restricted to Malaysian nationals, that is holders of the Malaysian identity card (MyKad). As regards foreign professionals, they are eligible to public health care facilities against additional fees as part of a treatment. You can have a list of health care fees in public hospitals on the Ministry of Health's website.

On the other hand, tourists and other visitors will have to turn to the private sector for medical care.

 Important:

In case of emergency, you are advised to hire a taxi to attend a public hospital rather than wait for the ambulance which is well-known for its slowness. However, private health institutions provide a more responsible ambulance service.

Medication

You are likely to find many pharmacies and drugstores across Malaysia. However, medications prescribed by the doctor in hospitals are delivered on the spot and fees applied combine consultation, pharmacy, scanner, radio costs, etc. The prescribed dose for the duration of the treatment will be given in small airtight bags. As the prescription guide is not included, you are strongly recommended to inquire on the medication and its possible side effects before leaving.

Public and private hospitals

Differences between public and private hospitals are considerable. In fact, in public hospitals, you will have to fill in a form on the premises and there are generally in Malay. Moreover, the staff rarely speaks a foreign language. In private hospitals, on the other hand, you are likely to encounter staff speaking foreign languages as well as modern equipment and health care facilities. Moreover, most doctors and nurses speak English as they have generally been trained abroad.

Health insurance

Companies having hired foreign nationals are required to contribute to a particular social insurance scheme, which is the SKHPPA. This insurance provides for admission in government hospitals for a fixed fee which is to be paid every year. This applies to 18 to 59 years old foreign employees.

 Good to know:

You will find many health insurance providers in the country. Note that private health insurance is compulsory for all foreigners visiting the country.

 Useful links:

Expat Blog - Health insurance directory in Malaysia
Ministry of Health www.moh.gov.my
Association of Private Hospitals of Malaysia www.hospitals-malaysia.org

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