Healthcare and medical care
Malaysia has a public and a private healthcare system. In large towns there are sufficient healthcare services, which employ doctors who speak English too. Some staff members have trained abroad. Health care staff often comprises well-trained professionals, especially in the private sector. In the public sector, long waiting times are to be expected. Outside cities, the availability of health services and the standard of treatment varies.
Dental services are readily available, and the price level is often lower than in Finland. However, root canal treatment is considerably more expensive than in Finland, since it is only carried out by dental surgeons and not by ordinary dentists.
Mental health services are available in the capital at least. In the rest of the country, their availability is not necessarily good.
Pharmacies can be found in larger shopping centres, and painkillers are available in almost every shop. Prescription medicines may not be available from pharmacies at all times, only in the presence of a pharmacist. They may be present for part of the day, usually on weekdays. When seeing a doctor, you can usually get the necessary medication directly from the doctor’s office or hospital pharmacy.
When travelling to Malaysia, you should take out comprehensive travel insurance. Doctors and hospitals usually require advance payment, especially from foreigners. Credit cards are accepted as means of payment almost everywhere. Keep all receipts and certificates you receive. You can seek reimbursement retrospectively from your insurance company.
In the private sector, services are more expensive than in the public sector. You should check more specific information when you arrive. Be vigilant when you use private medical services. Doctors may prescribe expensive, unnecessary treatments, examinations and medicines. This applies particularly to travellers.
Public hospitals and most private hospitals provide on-call medical services 24 hours a day. In some Malaysian tourist resorts, you can enquire about doctors from your hotel’s reception desk. Decompression chamber treatment is available in Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Kuantan, Lumut, Ipoh, Sabah and Labuan.
At hospitals, the number of rental assistive devices is limited. In most cases, the assistive devices must be purchased.
If you are health insured in Finland, and have received treatment in some other country than an EU or EEA country or Switzerland on account of a sudden illness, worsening of a chronic condition, pregnancy or childbirth, you can apply for reimbursement from Kela retrospectively. You are entitled for the same reimbursement that you would have received if you had been treated in the private healthcare system in Finland. Please note that the reimbursement usually covers only a small part of the costs of the treatment. Thus, taking out a comprehensive travel insurance is recommended.