MELAKA: The implementation of a healthcare travel bubble can help revive the tourism and health sectors in Melaka even as the state awaits its expected transition into Phase 3 of the National Recovery Plan (PPN) in October, according to industry players.
Melaka Tourism Association president Madelina Kuah Wey Lee said the Batu Berendam International Airport in Batu Berendam can serve as an air ambulance parking hub and a stepping stone for boosting health tourism in the state.
She said a hub that provides flights to ferry and transfer patients would surely be the choice of patients looking for treatment available at three private hospitals and one government hospital in Melaka.
“I believe domestic health tourism is not a problem; in fact, it should be intensified since we already have a stringent standard operating procedure which includes PCR tests on the first, sixth and 14th days for patients to ensure they are free from COVID-19.
“We also request that the service be made available to Indonesia through charter flights since the demand for treatment in Malaysia, especially to Melaka, is extremely high,” she said when contacted by Bernama.
Kuah said it would be a loss if Melaka did not capitalise on its health technological development, including the country’s first High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) for treating gynaecological problems like adenomyosis and fibroids.
Meanwhile, Ayer Keroh Pantai Hospital chief executive officer Tan Yew Aik said the health bubble tourism should be given focus considering that chronic patients are forced to seek alternatives in treatment which cost much more than before and come with strict procedures.
“Our patients are mostly from Indonesia and Singapore and areas bordering Melaka. When the borders were closed, they complained about difficulty in getting access to treatment. So, it is only fair that the health tourism bubble be given due consideration,” he said.
He said that chronic neuro, cancer and depression patients were among those affected when the state and international borders were closed because the cost of treatment in their countries of origin were higher than in Malaysia.
“From another perspective, the health tourism bubble services present us an opportunity to improve the quality of treatment by increasing the number sub-specialists in some departments like neonatology, geriatrics and respiratory.
“Simultaneously, we are maximising our online consultation via e-Health which enables overseas patients to interact with their doctors here as well as courier their medicines,“ he said.- Bernama