Malaysia needs 200 more neurologists to cater to the high number of stroke patients in the country, the Health Ministry said today.
Its health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said that currently, Malaysia has 107 neurology specialists nationwide, comprising 50 specialists and trainees from the Health Ministry, 33 specialists and trainees from university hospitals, and private sector specialists.
He revealed that 92 patients are currently being treated for stroke-related ailments in hospitals across the country.
“It is hoped that more trained neurology specialists will be available to offer their services to stroke patients in the coming years.
“Forty per cent of the admitted patients are below 60 years of age. (About) 32 people die from strokes every day.
“(So…) we need 200 more trained specialists,” said Dr Noor Hisham after launching the 1st Malaysia Stroke Conference here, today.
He said all general hospitals have neurology specialists, except those in Kedah and Perlis.
“We are training about 11 specialists and will place them there in a year or two,” he added.
Admitting that it will take a long time to attain a sufficient number of neurology specialists, Dr Noor Hisham said that specialists from other departments could also lend a hand in providing early assistance for stroke patients.
He said that, for example, a specialist from an emergency department could provide stroke patients with early treatment before they are referred to a neurologist for further treatment.
“We are no longer offering services vertically, but also horizontally, where specialists from other departments can work together,” he added.
Dr Noor Hisham also said government hospitals could adopt new technologies such as intravenous (IV) thrombolysis for stroke treatment.