An estimated 80,000 or 0.29 per cent of children in Malaysia need palliative care, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba.
He said as many as 28.5 out of the 10,000 population of children from the age of 0-18 or 25,000 to 30,000 children in the country suffer from chronic or terminal illnesses that required specific palliative care.
“This specific palliative care includes full-time palliative care, coordination and comprehensive management among multidisciplinary treating groups, as well as providing support to family members to cope with the ‘grief and bereavement process,” he said when launching the “Handbook of Children’s Palliative Care Malaysia” virtually, today.
Dr Adham said the ministry faced a big challenge to further strengthen paediatric palliative medicine services as the planning of these services would be continued under the 12th Malaysia Plan by expanding regionally to Penang and Sabah.
The National Palliative Care Policy and Strategic Plan (2019-2030) also outlines and focuses on the provision of holistic treatment for groups of patients with life-limiting illnesses.
It includes cancer, genetic diseases in premature infants such as cystic fibrosis and Duchenne muscular dystrophy, as well as irreversible organ failures including heart and kidney disease, he also said.
He added that palliative care among adult patients now had 25 specialists while for children, the MOH only had one palliative paediatrician, three paediatricians with “special interest” and two more were palliative paediatricians at the University of Malaya Medical Centre and Universiti Sains Malaysia Hospital. — Bernama