Malaysia needs 8,000 family medicine specialists for 1:4000 target

21 Oct 2019 / 19:53 H.

GEORGE TOWN: Malaysia needs 8,000 more family medicine specialists (FMS) to fulfil its FMS-population target ratio of 1:4,000.

Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah (pix) said only about 700 FMS were currently serving in public and private facilities nationwide.

“It will take time for us. So because of that, we have two parallel programmes, one is with RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland) and the other one with an Australian university. But more importantly, it is to complement our local programme, the master’s programme because we want the numbers.

“We are complementing the system so that we can increase the number of family medicine specialists in the country,“ he told a press conference after launching the Malaysia-Ireland Training Programme for Family Medicine (MInTFM) here today.

Also present were Ambassador of Ireland to Malaysia, Hilary Reilly and RCSI & University College Dublin (UCD) Malaysia Campus (RUMC) president Prof David Whitford.

According to Noor Hisham, family medicine and primary care was a focus area of the Health Ministry hence the MInTFM which is in line with its efforts to boost the number of FMS in the country.

He said the ministry would try to get scholarships for the family medicine trainees.

“All of them will be trained in our centres, in our facilities. We are trying to give priority to 35 students who have already enrolled into the programme,“ he said of the scholarship.

The first cohort of 35 doctors will undergo a four-year training programme, that is, two years in hospital and two years in family medicine.

Meanwhile, Noor Hisham said the death of a 30-year-old man in Manjung Perak on Friday, reportedly due to Zika virus, was still being investigated.

He said there was a strong possibility that the man’s death was not due to Zika but other causes such as leptospirosis and dengue. — Bernama

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