Sabah on track to be preferred medical tourism destination
06 Oct 2023
Sabah is on track to becoming a preferred destination for medical tourism in the region, said state Tourism, Culture and Environment minister Datuk Christina Liew.
“Sabah is an ideal one-stop destination for travel, healthcare and wellness, with direct flight accessibility from major cities in the Southeast Asian region.
“We have world-class medical and healthcare facilities and services comparable to the best in Asean.
“Private hospitals in Sabah such as Gleneagles Kota Kinabalu, KPJ Sabah Specialist Hospital and Jesselton Medical Centre, to name a few, offer a full range of medical and surgical services as well as healthcare services,” she said in her opening speech at the 34th Annual Scientific Congress of Malaysian Oncological Society at Sabah International Convention Centre here.
Liew, who is also Api-Api assemblyman, said that based on health tourism statistics, KPJ Sabah Specialist Hospital saw an increase in the number of foreign patients by 20.1 per cent in the third quarter of 2023 versus the same period last year.
She added that the revenue generated from providing medical and health services to these patients has registered an increase by 2.5 per cent in the same period.
“I understand that patients from a neighbouring country (Indonesia) were seeking interventional cardiology treatment such as angioplasty and orthopaedic surgery, among others, at the KPJ Sabah Specialist Hospital.”
Liew said while there was a process of setting up Sabah Health Tourism Council in 2019, it could not be materialised due to change of government and later Covid-19 pandemic.
However, she is confident medical tourism will bounce back with the reopening of international borders since April last year.
“With the establishment of the Sabah Convention Bureau this year, I also see an enormous opportunity to further promote Sabah as a destination for medical tourism, including cancer care and treatment.”
Earlier, Liew said the event, which is held for the second time in Saah, saw a total of more than 900 participants from all over Malaysia and overseas.
Themed “Scaling Greater Heights in Oncology”, the congress offers a wide range of topics related to the latest cancer care updates.
Present were Health Ministry National Radiotherapy and Oncology Services head Dr Ros Suzanna Ahmad Bustamam, organising chairman Dr Flora Chong, Malaysian Oncological Society honorary president Dr Muthukkumaran Tthigarajan, and Sabah Women’s and Children’s Hospital director Dr Marcus Netto.