MTA Assists Malaysia in Expanding National Medical Travel Initiative

West Palm Beach, FL, July 25, 2009 --( MTA's Managing Director, Asia Pacific region was asked to serve as Technical Expert Industry Consultant as Malaysia focuses on its medical travel and health & wellness tourism country-wide initiative.

Malaysia can become a world-class medical and health tourism hub, said the managing director of Medical Tourism Association Inc.

Vivian Ho said although India, Singapore and Thailand had progressed tremendously in this field, it was never too late for Malaysia to promote its medical, health and wellness tourism.

"The hospitals have highly trained and experienced professionals and specialists in various fields.

"Also, many private hospitals are equipped with state-of-the-art medical equipment."

Ho, who is in charge of the Asia-Pacific region and is stationed in the United States, said she noticed that the standard of service and treatment provided in hospitals and clinics were of high quality and cost effective.

She said many foreigners were now looking to Malaysia for treatment in cardiology, oncology, neurology, orthopaedic, executive physical screenings and plastic surgeries.

"Malaysia should embark on health tourism by having medically-oriented fitness and wellness centres, physical therapy, post-cancer care, rehabilitative services, complimentary, integrative and indigenous medicines, nutraceuticals, health food products, cosmetics and spa packages."

She said medical tourism had emerged as a substantial segment in the healthcare industry.

"As healthcare costs rise, people are looking to countries which are affordable, follow international standards and offer good service and treatment."

She said a heart bypass would cost US$130,000 (RM468,000) in the US, US$9,000 in India, US$11,000 in Thailand and US$16,500 in Singapore, US$34,150 in South Korea and US$14,000 in Malaysia.

A knee replacement would cost US$40,000 in the US, US$8,500 in India, US$10,000 in Thailand, US$11,000 in Singapore, US$24,000 in South Korea and US$4,000 in Ma-laysia.

Ho said: "Patients who cannot afford treatment in their own country will fly to countries that offer affordable healthcare.

"We are aware of people in the US, UK and Europe flying to Asia for holiday-cum-medical treatment, taking up health and wellness packages."

In 2007, more than 750,000 Americans sought less-expensive medical treatment abroad.

According to the Deloitte Centre for Health Solutions Research, this number is expected to grow to six million by next year.

Ho said the global medical tourism industry generated revenues of up to US$460 billion with a 20 per cent annual growth.

"Medical tourism could generate US$4.4 billion for Asia by 2012."

The Medical Tourism Association is the first international non-profit association made up of the top international hospitals, healthcare providers, medical tourism facilitators, insurance companies, and other affiliated companies and members with the common goal of promoting the highest level of quality of healthcare to patients in a global environment. Our Association promotes the interests of its healthcare provider and medical tourism facilitators members. The Medical Tourism Association has three tenets: Transparency, Communication and Education.

Medical Tourism Association
Jessica Johnson