Malaysia is facing a critical shortage of geriatric specialists for the treatment and care of the elderly.
Deputy Health Minister Senator Lukanisman Awang Sauni said that currently there are only 33 geriatricians in government hospitals, 13 in university hospitals and 14 in private hospitals.
“Ideally, there should be one specialist per 10,000 people but we only have 0.18 experts for a population of 10,000, therefore, this is critical,“ he said in response to a question from Senator Datuk Dr Dominic Lau Hoe Chai about the number of geriatricians in the country during an oral question-and-answer session at Dewan Negara today.
He said the causes of the shortage are related to the marketability of geriatricians in the country and the lack of exposure and awareness of the importance of treatment for the elderly among Malaysians, among others.
According to him, the government is preparing the Health Ministry (MOH) Elderly Health Services Action Plan 2023-2030, which outlines in detail the need to fill the vacancies for geriatric specialists, among other things.
“Among the initiatives to attract interest in the field of geriatric medicine are to increase promotional efforts for geriatric sub-speciality studies, increase the number of scholarships offered for geriatric subspecialty training and make geriatric medicine a potential field for career promotion opportunities,“ he said.
He added that on average, eight medical specialists undergo subspecialty training in the field every year. – Bernama