to measure the efficiency of healthcare provision, and at a rating of 10, that has put Malaysia head to head with most Western Euro countries as well as United States. Average life span from birth in 2005 was projected to be 74 years.
All Malaysian graduates from the medical discipline must perform public services in government hospitals for the first three years immediately after graduation. This ensures that sufficient medical care is catered for the general population while fresh doctors pick up the necessary practical skill. Foreign graduates are welcome to enter the medical field in Malaysia; in fact, foreign doctors with higher qualifications are pretty much sought after in this country.
Healthcare is an elementary aspect of life in the nation. The Malaysian government usually designates some 5% of social sector development budget for just public healthcare expenditure. As in most countries in the world, the country's main challenges are to look after the rapidly growing, and at the same time aging population. Over the years, government has funded many projects involving refurbishment, addition and maintenance of public healthcare institutions across the country, with parallel emphasis on training and expansion of medical workforce. In recent years, the country has witnessed remarkable overhaul of public healthcare sector, which is partially funded by foreign direct investment.
However, the supply of medical professionals is still not able to keep up with the increasing demand of the population, especially those from highly specialized fields. For this reason, certain medical care and treatment can only be carried out in larger cities. While there have been efforts from the government to try to push medical care to as many parts of the country as possible, these have been largely unsuccessful as there simply are not enough highly trained professionals to operate every piece of equipment.
Most private hospital facilities can be found in larger cities. These private hospitals are usually flushed with cash and they are all well stocked with the latest diagnostic and imaging equipment. Until recently, not many private enterprises would have been interested to invest in private hospitals due to large cash outlay and long payback period. However things started changing a few years back and more private businesses are venturing into healthcare. Additionally the increased interest in this particular sector is partly driven by the boom in medical tourism as more expatriates choose Malaysia as a medical destination.
Since the last major Nipah virus outbreak in 1999, the government was determined to formulate counter-measures and processes so that the country does not succumb to another infectious disease. While SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) created havoc around the world, Malaysia was not affected by it in a major way, and the subsequent H5N1 (bird flu) outbreak in 2004 was managed effectively as well.
A more aggressive development in the country is the National Influenza Pandemic Preparedness Plan (or NIPPP for short). This publishes the detailed preparations and necessary action plans in the face of an influenza pandemic. It provides a framework for the collaborations among multiple government departments/agencies in conjunction with NGOs at every stage of a potential influenza pandemic.