KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia still lacks comprehensive hospice and palliative care services across the country, Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye said today.
According to a 2016 assessment conducted by Hospis Malaysia, more than 56,000 Malaysians will require palliative care each year. However, less than 10% of this need is met, he pointed out.
“The Ministry of Health services initially started through the services at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Kota Kinabalu,” he said at the launch of Hospis Malaysia ‘Speak Up – Because I Matter’ Campaign at Suria KLCC here.
“In 2008, palliative medicine was recognised as a medical subspecialty and to date 11 palliative care specialists have completed training, and six public hospitals now have palliative care specialists.
“The Ministry will need to look at how it can develop the workforce through training and education and to improve access to essential medication.”
Hospis Malaysia Chairman Datin Kathleen Chew Wai Lin said Hospis involvement in patient care and medical student training has seen growing in the country.
“Our working relationship with the public sector is growing, our reach into the community is demonstrated by the increasing number of patients we care for,” she said.
“We are a training centre for under graduate and post-graduate students from public and private medical schools and the Ministry of Health’s trainee palliative care specialists spend six months of their three-year training with us.”
The exhibition, held in conjunction with the Palliative Care Awareness Month, is from yesterday to tomorrow at Suria KLCC.