A total of 374,063 tourists visited Malaysia for health purposes last year which generated a revenue of RM299.1 mil, said Deputy Health Minister Datuk Rosnah Abdul Rashid Shirlin.
She said in 1998, health tourists only numbered 39,114 and contributed RM14.1mil to the nation's coffers.
She said this when replying to questions from N.Gobalakrishnan (PKR-Padang Serai) and Datuk Ismail Kassim (BNArau) in the Dewan Rakyat Wednesday.
Rosnah said some 35 private hospitals offered services in health tourism and that the Health Ministry was working together with the private sector to make Malaysia a centre of excellence for health tourism.
As to migration of health specialists from the government sector to the private sector because of the growing health tourism industry, she said it had been on a downward trend the last two years with the rate of health practitioners leaving at 2.4 percent compared to 5.1 percent in 2003.
She added that the ministry encouraged hospitals involved in the health tourism industry to obtain the needed accreditations, both local and international, among them from Malaysian Society for Quality in Health (MSQH) and Joint Commission International (JCI).
Source : STAR
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