The Association of Private Hospitals Malaysia (APHM) welcomes the proposal made by National Recovery Council (NRC) chairman Muhyiddin Yassin that Malaysia’s borders be fully opened from March 1, 2022, without the need for mandatory quarantine.
This would allow the medical tourism industry, which has been on pause since early 2020, to restart. This industry generated RM1.7 billion for the country in 2019. APHM has 151 member hospitals throughout Malaysia, with the majority treating medical tourists from neighbouring ASEAN countries.
Private hospitals will strictly adhere to all standard operating procedures (SOPs) set by the Ministry of Health (MOH) and properly screen all medical tourists before them for treatment.
We will only accept fully vaccinated medical tourists, preferably protected by booster doses, so that there is less risk of them falling ill if they should be infected by Covid-19 during the course of their treatment. This measure will also protect our health care providers.
Private hospitals are also ready to accept decanted patients from public hospitals, in the event that there is an increase of Omicron patients. During the peak of the pandemic last year, 113 private hospitals received outsourced patients from 49 government hospitals.
We will continue our support for the government to ease the burden, as mentioned by Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin in his speech on the February 7, 2022. Private hospitals have also been included in the National Rapid Response Task Force (RRTF) to facilitate this process.
APHM urges the public to get their booster doses as soon as possible. There are a few private hospitals currently administering booster vaccines.
Private hospitals will also assist with the vaccination of children between 5 and 11. It is evident that vaccination with booster doses has brought down the severity of the pandemic, and has encouraged economic recovery with the reopening of international borders in many countries.
Dr Kuljit Singh is president of the Association of Private Hospitals Malaysia (APHM).
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