By SHAHEERA AZNAM SHAH / Pic By ISMAIL CHE RUS
Malaysia has seen an increase in cardiac patients from the South Asian region, according to the National Heart Institute (IJN).
IJN Holdings Sdn Bhd CEO Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Azhari Yakub said the heart centre has been treating an increase number of patients from Bangladesh, while visitors from Indonesia remain at the top seeking its treatment.
“As far as the foreign treatment, Indonesia remains our top foreign customer, with slightly fewer patients from Myanmar and the Middle East.
“But over the past few years, we have received patients from Bangladesh and other parts of the South Asian region,” he said.
He added that despite being closer to India, which has been long known to be one of the main providers of medical education to Malaysia, Bangladesh has started to seek cardiac treatment in Malaysia.
“Maybe the growth is due to the promotional activities we held in the past two years in some hospitals in Bangladesh,” he said.
To accommodate the rising volume of cardiac patients, IJN has entered into an agreement with Permodalan Nasional Bhd to establish another heart centre in Johor.
He said the proposed centre, which is expected to be completed in four years, will also cater to patients from Singapore and Indonesia.
On Malaysia’s aspiration in elevating its medical tourism, Dr Mohd Azhari said IJN is collaborating with Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC) to promote the hospital as the reference point in cardiac treatment.
“We are in the middle of close discussion with MHTC to plan out the marketing and promotional strategies for cardiology centre.
“IJN will be the premier heart centre that will be promoted to both local and international patients,” he said.
MHTC recently stated that revenue contribution from the medical tourism is expected to surpass RM2 billion per annum. The figure is expected to multiply and exceed an estimated RM10 billion by 2020.