KUALA LUMPUR: The Health Ministry aims to accelerate efforts to achieve universal access to quality healthcare by targeting underserved areas, promoting primary and preventive healthcare and increasing capacity of both healthcare facilities and personnel.
Health Minister Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad, however, said that one of the biggest challenges faced by Malaysia in fulfilling these aspirations was the acute shortage and maldistribution of health professionals, particularly specialists.
“Malaysia faces a critical shortage of health professionals across all sectors of healthcare.
“In particular, the ratio of clinical specialists of 3.42 per 10,000 population is currently much lower than the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) average of 14.13 per 10,000 population.
“Adding to the problem, of the approximately 8,000 clinical specialists in the country, more than 40 per cent are in private practice, serving 30 per cent of admissions into the country,” he said in his keynote address at the 4th Innovations in Global Health Professions Education (IGHPE) 2018 Annual Conference here yesterday.
The minister noted that although Malaysia had engaged in the expansion of its undergraduate and post-graduate medical programmes in the last decade, this expansion had not been enough to meet the demands of the nation.
Co-sponsored by Universiti Malaya, this year’s programme aims to provoke debate and formulate new ideas on the use of design and technology to bridge the gap between the theory and practice in health professions within the region and globally.