Malaysian health care standards are high, and costs are low for any critical health services (a doctor’s visit often costs less than US$10), wellness counseling, cosmetic care, or elective care that you may seek. In all, the health care system in Malaysia is modern, efficient, and one of the country’s greatest bargains.
It’s not unusual for Westerners to come here for a medical or dental “vacation,” then recuperate in low-cost leisure while enjoying the many other attractions of the area. The Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council has a great deal of information about the excellent medical care available you can expect when you come to Malaysia.
Due to the country’s colonization, Western medicine and health care standards were imported to Malaysia in the 18th century. Since becoming independent, the Malaysian health care system has been largely controlled by the government who make sure a high standard of health care is available throughout the country.
Most doctors in Malaysia have earned their doctorate abroad, so the majority of physicians practicing in the country have acquired at least part of their education overseas. Hospitals employ medical personnel educated in Europe, Australia, the United States, and Canada. As a result, whether you go to a small neighborhood clinic, a public hospital, or a major private hospital, it is quite likely that your doctor will speak fluent English.
Hospitals are modern, clean, and furnished with all the equipment that you would expect from a hospital in the U.S. or Canada. Local “kliniks” offer good treatment for minor illnesses at extremely reasonable prices. A visit to one of these kliniks usually costs around US$5. The general practitioners working there tend to be foreign-educated and proficient in English. Specialists may have their own clinics or have offices located in hospital medical complexes. A visit to a specialist costs around US$30 for an initial consultation, and follow-up visits are often included at no additional charge. If you have a condition that requires hospitalization, you will be pleased at how affordable high quality health care can be.
Most medications prescribed by Western physicians can be found in Malaysia, often at much lower prices. Many drugs, including most antibiotics, can be purchased over the counter in Malaysia, though some routine medications—mostly painkillers such as ibuprofen—require a prescription. If you must take a specific medication, you may want to confirm that it is available in Malaysia.
Narcotics are illegal in Malaysia and cannot be prescribed, purchased, or imported. Illegal importation of narcotics can carry the death penalty.
Health statistics in Malaysia compare favorably with the United States and Western Europe—numbers like infant mortality rate (10 in 2005) and age expectancy (74 years in 2005).