MOH Faces Shortage Of 755 O&G Specialists To Meet 2025 Target

The MOH aims to have 1,400 obstetrics & gynaecology (O&G) specialists by 2025, with a further increase to 1,650 by 2030. These targets aim to achieve a doctor-to-population ratio of 1:25,000 O&G specialists by 2025, and 1:22,500 O&G specialists by 2030.

KUALA LUMPUR, June 22 – The Ministry of Health (MOH) is short of 755 obstetrics and gynaecology (O&G) specialists to meet its target set for 2025.

At present, there are 645 O&G specialists working in the public health sector, according to Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa in a written parliamentary reply last June 6 to Permatang Pauh MP Muhammad Fawwaz Mohamad Jan, who inquired about the number of O&G specialists and doctors nationwide.

However, the MOH has set a goal of having 1,400 O&G specialists by 2025, and further increasing it to 1,650 by 2030. These targets aim to establish a doctor-to-population ratio of 1:25,000 O&G specialists by 2025 and 1:22,500 O&G specialists by 2030.

“The ministry acknowledges the importance of specialised fields, including O&G, in all MOH facilities. Specialised services, including O&G, are a priority in the MOH’s path to enhance the level of health care of the Malaysian population. The ministry has 645 medical specialists in O&G, and in 2022, a total of 321,116 births occurred in MOH facilities,” Dr Zaliha said.

The shortage of O&G specialists in Malaysia poses challenges in providing timely and quality care to pregnant women and addressing reproductive health concerns. These specialists play a crucial role in monitoring pregnancies, conducting tests, diagnosing complications, and providing interventions. Delays in prenatal care and necessary medical interventions can impact the health of both mother and baby.

According to the National Health and Morbidity Survey: Maternal and Child Health (NHMS MCH) report 2022, the rates of complications during pregnancy, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, have increased in Malaysia. 

The percentage of mothers with diabetes in pregnancy rose from 13.5 per cent in 2016 to 27.1 per cent in 2022. Additionally, the number of women with high blood pressure during pregnancy increased from 5.8 per cent in 2016 to 6.5 per cent in 2022.

In July 2020, the Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) revealed that O&G specialists in Sarawak were 18 times fewer than those in peninsular west coast states.

Reproductive health concerns also extend beyond pregnancy and childbirth. O&G specialists also address issues related to infertility, menstrual disorders, menopause, and various gynaecological conditions. 

The shortage of specialists limits access to specialised care for these conditions, resulting in longer waiting times, limited availability of appointments, and reduced access to specialised treatments or procedures which may have adverse effects on the overall reproductive health and wellbeing of individuals in the country.

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