Message from the Chief Executive Officer
Assalamualaikum and greetings from Malaysia Healthcare.
Happy New Year! I hope you had a great start to the year and have been keeping safe. What a year it had been – 2021 proved to be a persistently turbulent year for the global healthcare travel industry, including Malaysia. However, it didn’t stop us to welcome foreign patients back to #experienceMalaysiaHealthcare at our shores within stringent SOPs and provide them the continuity of care through the medical travel bubble programme.
We have also charted a new course for a continuous and sustainable industry growth, which has been strategically proposed for roll-out over the next four years from now, guided by the Malaysia Healthcare Travel Industry Blueprint 2021-2025. With the Blueprint, we aim to improve the healthcare travel ecosystem and grow the Malaysia Healthcare brand within the targeted markets, namely Indonesia, China, Singapore, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Cambodia, Vietnam, the United Kingdom, the United States, Brunei and Middle East. These strategies ultimately will allow us uphold commitment in providing quality healthcare to international patients that is accessible and affordable, within a safe and trusted destination.
Local and international media also continued to play a vital role in driving the growth of Malaysia Healthcare brand and there’s no better way than to honour them with the third installment of the Medical Travel Media Awards (MTMA). We received a total of 420 submissions from a total of 15 markets, competing for six highly competitive award categories. Once again, MHTC would like to congratulate all the winners and we hope the media members would continue to be our brand ambassadors to position Malaysia as a safe and trusted healthcare travel destination.
This is only the start of Malaysia Healthcare’s journey to recovering and rebuilding the industry. Together, let’s rebuild the sector upon the existing confidence and trust in Malaysia as a safe and trusted healthcare travel destination and retain our competitiveness. More importantly, placing patient centricity as a key strategy moving forward as we place patients’ needs and experiences at the centre of our decision making.
Thank you.Mohd Daud Mohd Arif
Chief Executive Officer
Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council
Healthcare Travel News
Healthcare Travel News
With the current vaccination rates and border control relaxations following suit around the world, including Malaysia, it was also shared by the media that the demand for healthcare travel is starting to rebound, and will grow beyond pre-pandemic level as border restrictions ease. The Association of Private Hospitals Malaysia also noted that local private hospitals are already seeing gradual improvements in its occupancy rate after almost two years of having to scale down operations. This comes as great news, especially for an industry that has been earmarked as the key economic growth driver in Malaysia.
To further forge industry resilience, MHTC also launched the Malaysia Healthcare Travel Industry Blueprint 2021-2025 to uphold its commitment to provide quality healthcare that is accessible and affordable, within a safe and trusted destination. With the aspiration to provide the best Malaysia Healthcare travel experience by 2025, the five-year plan is based on three strategic pillars: the Healthcare Travel Ecosystem, the Malaysia Healthcare Brand, and the Markets for Malaysia Healthcare.
Similarly, several international markets are also eyeing the healthcare travel pie as one of the anchors to drive economic recovery.
- Indonesia has partnered up with US-based Mayo clinic to build three hospitals, located in Bali, Jakarta, and Medan to recoup $7 billion in outbound healthcare travel.
- Thailand has reopened their borders since late 2021 to revive the business sectors, including healthcare travel. Starting from February 2022, the country will be fully opened to vaccinated travellers who apply a visa under the Test & Go programme. Visa holders won’t be required to quarantine upon arrival and will only have to do two COVID-19 tests.
- As medical tourism is a high value-added industry, with healthcare travellers spending 10 times more money than leisure travellers, South Korea is set to improve healthcare travellers’ end-to-end services (entry to departure), offer interpretation services, and launch special projects to attract foreign patients.
It is encouraging to see more countries cautiously opening borders. However, countries would need to adapt very quickly to counter unseen circumstances that may impact travellers’ movement due to newly imposed travel restrictions.
- Malaysia's IHH says medical tourism to grow past pre-COVID levels, Asian Nikkei
- Private hospitals see pick-up in 2022, The Malaysian Reserve
- Medical tourism looking up, Bangkok Post
- Thailand to Resume Quarantine-Free Tourism as Covid Eases, Bloomberg
- Jokowi builds hospitals to recoup US$7b in medical tourism, The Edge Markets
- How can South Korea revive medical travel?, LaingBuisson
General Healthcare News
Almost nine million Malaysians have gotten their COVID-19 booster shots as of 14 January 2022 and Yang Berhormat Khairy Jamaluddin, Minister of Health Malaysia made a series of COVID-19 SOP related announcements in January 2022:
- Unlike unvaccinated adults, children will not be subjected to restrictions if they are not vaccinated. However, parents were urged to register their aged five to 11 children.
- Temperature checks will soon be a thing of the past, but still require to check-in and show vaccination certificates before entering private premises.
- The Health Ministry is studying whether Sinovac vaccine recipients have been jabbed with a Pfizer booster would require a fourth dose to increase protection against the COVID-19 Omicron variant.
- Malaysians are expected to see a surge in cases of the Omicron COVID-19 variant, but it would be under control, all thanks to the country’s high vaccination rate.
Great news for the travellers who intend to visit Malaysia. On 21 January 2022, travellers who received booster shots are only required to undergo a five-day quarantine upon arrival in Malaysia effective 24 January 2022. They are only required to undergo a PRC test two days prior to travelling, on the arrival day and on the fourth day of quarantine; or use a RTK on the fifth day supervised by health officers.
Travellers who had been infected with COVID-19 and have completed their vaccinations will not be required to undergo quarantine upon arrival in Malaysia. However, an RTK Antigen (Ag) test will take place at the international checkpoint.
In terms of managing the pandemic in the third year, YB Khairy stressed that it is important to focus on vaccines, vigilance, and community empowerment to manage any outbreaks. He added that extended lockdowns and border controls are no longer viable in the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Pandemic news aside, YB Khairy hinted at smoking ban for the next generation. He plans to table a new Tobacco and Smoking Control Act to replace current tobacco product control legislations under the Food Act 1983. To reduce the burden for the current healthcare system, the new law will also regulate e-cigarettes and vape products.
Lastly, YB Khairy has proposed a white paper to reform the healthcare system and ensure it is future proof. He also shared that the reformation of the country’s healthcare system in the country's health system also involve healthcare financing on how the health burden could be shared with the people. The white paper aims to strengthen Malaysia’s role at the international level, especially learning new methods from the international community to manage pandemics and public health.
- Khairy: No restrictions on unvaxxed children, The Star
- Covid-19: No more temperature checks soon, says Khairy, The Star
- Covid-19: Health Ministry studying need for second booster shot for Sinovac recipients, says Khairy, The Star
- The Omicron wave is here, says Khairy, Free Malaysia Today
- Khairy: No more lockdowns third year of pandemic, Code Blue
- Shorter quarantine for some travellers, The Star
- No quarantine upon arrival for fully vaccinated COVID-19 survivors, New Straits Times
- Khairy hints at smoking ban for next generation, Code Blue
- Khairy moots reform of healthcare system, New Straits Times
Launch of the Malaysia Healthcare Travel Industry Blueprint 2021-2025 by YB Khairy Jamaluddin, the Minister of Health Malaysia
1 November 2021: Championed by the Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC), the Malaysia Healthcare Travel Industry Blueprint 2021-2025 is an industry-driven document to guide the industry stakeholders in providing the best Malaysian healthcare travel experience by 2025. In attendance from the Ministry of Health were the Secretary-General YBhg. Dato’ Mohd Shafiq bin Abdullah, and Director-General Ybhg. Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Dr. Noor Hisham Abdullah.
Announcement of Malaysia as the Hepatitis C Treatment Hub of Asia during insigHT2021
16 November 2021: MHTC continued to forge industry resilience with insigHT2021, the region’s leading medical travel market intelligence conference. The opening ceremony saw the launch of Malaysia as the Hepatitis C Treatment Hub of Asia by YB Khairy Jamaluddin. Malaysia is the first country in the world to be given conditional approval for Ravidasvir in combination with Sofosbuvir to treat Hepatitis C. The nation is poised to offer access to an affordable and efficacious treatment solution for those infected with the virus.
Malaysia Healthcare Honoured Media Frontliners at MTMA2021
9 December 2021: Graced by YB Khairy Jamaluddin, the virtual Medical Travel Media Awards Presentation Ceremony 2021 (MTMA2021) honoured local and international media for their contributions in positioning Malaysia as a safe and trusted destination for healthcare. A total of 420 submissions were received from Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Italy, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates, the United States, and Malaysia.
The virtual awards event was made possible with the support of event sponsors, Epson Malaysia, Mahkota Medical Centre, and Magicopper, as well as media network partners, Telum Media, Meltwater, and Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union. A big thank you also goes to the dedicated team of regional judges who independently evaluated all story submissions against a comprehensive points-based scoring system.
Malaysia Healthcare and Tai Orient Extend Partnership to Ensure Continuity of Care for Healthcare Travellers from China
15 December 2021: Malaysia Healthcare and Tai Orient signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Tai Orient, a renowned healthcare facilitator based in China, to continue facilitating demand for healthcare services from Chinese healthcare travellers. Moving forward, Tai Orient and MHTC will continue collaborating on CME sessions, where Malaysian and Chinese healthcare experts can explore and discuss industry best practices and healthcare matters. The partnership will also enable Malaysia to further strengthen its position in China as the Fertility Hub of Asia.
Member Hospitals Social Media Features
Mahkota Medical Centre initiated the ‘Melaka Bersama – Flood Relief Assistance’ activity to hand over boxes of essential supplies to the flood victims via Pejabat Kebajikan Masyarakat Daerah Melaka Tengah.
Sunway Medical Centre launched a new video series, #SunMedKidsMeetDoctors where a group of inquisitive kids learn more about the doctors and what they do. They even learnt how to conduct CPR!
Thomson Hospital Kota Damansara celebrated its colleagues’ achievements and successes during Thomson Staff Appreciation Week. Read more about it by clicking the image above.
Mohd Daud Mohd Arif, Chief Executive Officer
- Shobena Singam
- Tutie Ismail
- Vanessa Tan
- Joyce Gan
- Rowena Selvarasan