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Malaysia fast becoming alternative medical tourism destination

Malaysia is considered an emergent medical tourism hotspot in Asia, being progressively acknowledged as a destination of choice for medical and healthcare tourism. It ranks among the top alongside its Asian counterparts like India, Thailand, Singapore, and South Korea because of its high standard and relatively affordable care cost. After the country opened its borders in April 2022, it had 67,813 tourists seeking medical treatment almost seven-fold compared to the first quarter of the same year, according to the Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC).

The medical tourism sector in Malaysia is promoted by the government, assuring patients from around the world of healthcare that is of premium quality, and adhering to the safety standards and laws within the medical care industry. It utilizes cutting-edge medical technology, and innovative healthcare practices, uses state-of-the-art facilities that meet the global standard, and employs medical professionals who receive training from the best international institutions, making its medical tourism at par with the best in the world.

Booking a medical procedure is just like booking a vacation as Malaysia offers the most cost-effective medical tourism, with tour and hotel packages included. Traveling to Malaysia is easier and more affordable, and most visitors or patients can stay in the country for 90 days without the need for a visa. Apart from chronic illnesses which receive tailor-made medical procedures, Malaysia is also known as an outstanding destination for teeth whitening, crown placement, lasik, warts and moles removal, and other standard treatments.

Sunway Medical Center and Pantai Hospital
Sunway Medical Center (SMC), the country’s largest quaternary and regional tertiary care private hospital established in November 1999. It has 29 centers of excellence, 724 beds, more than 300 specialists, 60 medical specialties, and 18 licensed OTs, and provides a complete range of medical and surgical solutions. This medical institution is renowned in specialties such as cancer care, hematology, targeted radionuclide therapy, robotic-assisted surgery, bone marrow transplant, kidney transplant, pediatric cardiac surgery, orthopedics, gastroenterology and hepatology, neurology and neurosurgery, cardiac and vascular, women and children services, to name a few.

SMC serves more than half a million patients annually and receives more than 60,000 international patient visits from 170 countries. And because it is strategically located in the integrated sustainable township of Sunway City Kuala Lumpur, SMC is within walking distance to whole range of amenities and tourist highlight such as Sunway Lagoon theme park, Sunway Hotels & Resorts, Sunway Pyramid shopping mall, and the Sunway University, which are places perfect for unwinding and recuperating after treatment.

Being one of the leading quaternary and tertiary regional hospitals in Malaysia, SMC is committed to providing best-in-class care supported by internationally trained specialists and the latest technology. “Every patient is important to us. Our strength is in formulating customized treatment plans for our patients, with the aim of providing a ‘home away from home’ environment whereby they can enjoy hassle-free and worry-free care. We are not only building good hospitals for today’s needs, but we are also laying the foundation for great hospitals for generations to come,” Dato’ Lau Beng Long, President of Sunway Healthcare Group said.

To keep abreast with the latest technology and provide relevant and premium medical care, SMC acquired an additional state-of-the-art robotic surgery system and made history by performing Malaysia’s first robot-assisted joint replacement surgery in 2021. SMC is the first robotic joint replacement surgery pioneer in Malaysia, with evidence of how it genuinely champions its advocacy to help provide mobility and healthcare options to all its patients, especially the aging population.

SMC prides itself with a Cancer Centre that is equipped with innovative technologies producing only precise and intelligent diagnoses and treatment, such as Radixact-X9 Tomotherapy (the newest way to deliver radiation treatment), Leksell Gamma Knife ICON, among many others. SMC has a dedicated one-stop International Patient Centre (IPC) that takes care of the needs of international patients by providing assistance ranging from patient appointments, cost estimates, interpreters, and accommodation arrangements to transport logistics and such.

Pantai Hospital, on the other hand, is also one of Malaysia’s leading healthcare providers, offering comprehensive medical facilities and qualified medical experts. With 11 hospitals around Malaysia, it has been continuously delivering quality healthcare that generations of Malaysians have come to trust for over 45 years. It offers a full spectrum of integrated healthcare and ancillary services like health care and treatment for all illnesses and health concerns, including accidents and emergencies, health screening packages, diagnostic services, rehabilitation and physiotherapy, nutrition and dietetics, psychology, internal medicine, and e-health.

Pantai Hospital Kuala Lumpur, for instance, is one of the pioneer private hospitals in Klang Valley and a trusted partner in the healthcare journey of its patients for close to five decades. It has 380 licensed beds and is supported by over 200 specialist doctors from more than 38 medical specialties and is accredited with Joint Commission International (JCI), Malaysian Society for Quality in Health (MSQH), and is certified as a Baby Friendly Hospital. Pantai Hospital Kuala Lumpur is also a World Health Organization (WHO) preferred hospital in Malaysia. In 2020, Pantai Hospital Kuala Lumpur started its Clinical Research Team with 9 active clinical trials only. In two short years, the team currently hosts 26 active trials.

Why choose Malaysia
Given the high cost of medical care, there is a need to opt for expert care that offers value for one’s hard-earned money. Patients in Malaysia get premium quality healthcare without the need to break the bank. In some cases, the costs for these treatments are partially or completely refundable. Malaysians, like Filipinos, are known for their hospitality, and most of the population can speak English fluently. Hospitals have well-appointed luxe rooms with stunning views. Therefore, staying in a hospital in Malaysia (like SMC and Pantai Hospital) for treatment and recovery will be a hassle-free experience.

The Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC), which is part of the Ministry of Health in Malaysia, deals with everything related to medical tourism in Malaysia. Your trip will be personalized according to your preference or need thus, from your arrival until the departure, during and after treatment, recuperation, and rehabilitation everything will be taken care of to the last detail. Not to mention that Malaysia is a popular tourist destination, as millions of travelers visit the country to experience worry-free shopping at the Mitsui Shopping Outlet, as well as to bask in the sea, sun, and sand of this tropical paradise. Other must-visits in Malaysia are the Saloma Bridge, River of Life, KLCC, Bukit Bintang, Muzium Bank Negara, and the Cruise Tasik Putrajaya. Thus, patients prefer to recuperate and recover in Malaysia before returning to their home country.

Malaysia is also open to international students who want to pursue programs in Engineering, Cyber Security/IT, MBA, and even medical courses at Sunway College, APU International School, and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, among other outstanding educational institutions. Both the MHTC and the chosen educational institutions will help tourists and international students process their permits. Excellent boarding, and housing facilities for students and first-rate hotels including One World Hotel, Le Meridien Hotel, and Capri Hotel await tourists in Malaysia.

Malaysia provides medical care that is at par with First World countries, yet it costs only a fraction of the healthcare price when one chooses to receive medical care in Europe, Australia, or the US. The quality of private care in Malaysia. Like all private institutions in Malaysia, SMC and Pantai Hospital are licensed under the Healthcare Facilities and Services Act 1998 and the Private Healthcare Facilities and Services Regulations 2006.

To plan your medical treatment in Malaysia, you should first contact the health authorities in Malaysia to discover what treatment and procedure is best for your medical concern. Once you have determined to go for a top-rate hospital like SMC and Pantai Hospital, you will find all the information you need—your options, the reputation of the healthcare institution, the track record and credentials of the healthcare professional/specialist, and the total cost. For larger or longer treatments, it is also advised to first travel to Malaysia so you can visit the personal health care institution for a tour and speak with the specialist about your procedure. Remember, because everything is relatively more affordable thus when in Malaysia, you can save up on other things but not on the quality of health care you will receive.

“Health is happiness. When foreign patients come to our hospitals for treatment, they are often in the advanced stages of cancer or have been misdiagnosed or given the wrong treatment. Families are in distress because they want their loved ones to recover. This is our vision, to create a complete ecosystem from wellness and diagnosis to treatment and recovery by providing multidisciplinary care with advanced technology to assist patients in their treatment journey. To this end, we have launched an all-in-one 3D2N medical checkup cum leisure package with integrated offerings from Sunway Hotel and Sunway Lagoon, targeted screening programs, digital PET-CT scan, and other technologies to provide accurate diagnosis and targeted treatment,” Assistant Director, International Business Development Faith Tang concluded. Global News

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