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Health in Malaysia - Statistics & Facts

Malaysia is home to nearly 33 million inhabitants. The average life expectancy of the population was estimated to be almost 76 years by 2018. The rate of increase in the population’s life expectancy has been attributed to the advancement of the country’s healthcare system. Malaysia is also a popular medical tourist destination earning a revenue valued at 1.7 billion Malaysian ringgit as of 2019.

The government of Malaysia allocated a larger share of the GDP each year to health expenditure. A higher budget also allowed for a higher bed capacity in both public and private hospitals in the country. However, 2017 witnessed a sudden drop in the number of public hospitals with one hospital being shut down. Meanwhile, the number of private hospitals kept increasing. The Ministry of Health brought into action a hospital cluster concept in 2019 that enabled hospitals in geographical proximity to serve as a single unit that share resources and facilities.

With regard to the burden of disease, there were more reports of non-communicable diseases as health risks as opposed to the number of communicable disease cases. In 2019, the number of malaria cases were the highest in Sabah and Sarawak. Amongst reports of vaccine preventable diseases in 2019, the highest number of reports were those of Hepatitis B followed by measles. Other non-communicable disease reports included food and water borne diseases such as food poisoning that reached over 16.5 thousand in 2019.

Moreover, the major casuses of death in public hospitals in Malaysia in 2019 was largely attributed to diseases of the circulatory system and the respiratory system that accounted for over 22 percent and 21 percent, respectively. While there was a notable reduction in the number of deaths caused due to tuberculosis, deaths caused by malaria rose in 2017. The year 2018 also showed poor results in terms of infant mortality rates and mortality rates of children aged below five. This would require the Ministry of Health to redirect its focus on improving food safety as well as inoculation programs in the years to follow.


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