Ensure enough geriatricians for an aged Malaysia, govt told

Malaysia is expected to become an aged nation by 2047.

PETALING JAYA: A specialist has called on the government to ensure sufficient numbers of geriatricians as Malaysia heads towards becoming an aged nation by 2047.

Dr Osman Ali of Universiti Kuala Lumpur’s Royal College of Medicine Perak told FMT that this measure was necessary to ensure proper medical care for those aged 65 and above, who would make up 14% of the population in 23 years’ time.

Last October, deputy health minister Lukanisman Awang revealed a critical shortage of geriatricians nationwide, with 33 based in public hospitals and 14 in private hospitals.

Lukanisman said that ideally, there should be one specialist per 10,000 people “but we only have 0.18 experts for a population of 10,000”.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim said that Malaysia must prioritise investing in critical sectors such as healthcare, pharmaceuticals, and infrastructure conducive to active ageing.

Anwar said the market was driven by the needs and preferences of an ageing consumer base, noting that Malaysia would become an aged nation by 2047.

Osman agreed with Anwar that healthcare, pharmaceuticals, and infrastructure conducive to active ageing should be prioritised.

He said Putrajaya should also look into providing the elderly with facilities for lifelong learning.

“This will help prevent dementia and depression. If possible, such facilities should be made available at mosques, churches and other places of worship,” he said.

Meanwhile, Dr Hadijah Taib, who is attached to the pharmacy department at Kuala Lumpur Hospital, suggested that housing development take into account the needs of the elderly as well.


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