The country currently has 35 geriatricians registered with the National Specialist Register, said UM Specialist Centre (UMSC) consultant geriatrician Dr Tan Kit Mun although it actually requires between 600 and 700 geriatricians to care for an ageing population.
In a question and answer via e-mail, Dr Tan said at present, the percentage of older adults in Malaysia aged over 64 is 6.5 per cent or 2.1 million of the population.
“It can be a mammoth task to meet the needs of the silver population, and requires people with the expertise and passion to do so. The aim is to generate interest among doctors and train physicians in the specialist field of geriatric medicine,” she said.
She hopes there will be a diploma course for general practice doctors with a special interest in older persons.
She called on the government to increase the funding capacity, as well as establish adequate policies and effective programmes to promote and implement facilities for the ageing population.
“Currently, 30 per cent of inpatients are over 65, which reflects that older persons have more medical conditions and healthcare needs,” said Dr Tan.