Steady growth in medical tourism sector
By YENG AI CHUN
PENANG: Medical tourism is showing signs of steady growth in the state.
State Tourism Development and Environment Committee chairman Teng Chang Yeow said this was evident in the 10% growth in foreigners seeking medical treatment over the last two years.
He said 110,000 foreign patients had sought medical treatment here so far this year, compared to 100,000 last year.
Last year’s records also showed a 10% increase over that in 2004, he said.
“This puts us ahead of Kuala Lumpur and Kota Kinabalu as a venue for medical treatment for foreigners,” he said.
“Since 1997, we have been having an influx of foreign patients but we only started recording the figures two years ago,” he said.
The increase reflected their confidence in the state’s medical facilities, said Teng after the launching of the Island Hospital Spine Centre yesterday.
Teng said most of the foreigners were from Indonesia while Japanese expatriates working locally also sought medical treatment here.
He said the state needed to have good networking with medical fraternity to excel as a hub for medical treatment.
Island Hospital Spine Unit head Dr Oh Kim Soon said Malaysia started providing comprehensive spine treatment only recently.
“Taiwan and Japan started providing such treatment 50 to 60 years ago while we are only starting now,” he said.
Dr Oh said most spine diseases were caused by old age, adding that they were also caused by road accidents and mishaps at workplace.
He said the new spine centre at hospital served as a one-stop centre for diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation for patients with spinal disorder.
Source : STAR
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