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PUBLISHED: Apr 7, 2015 4:13pm

Malaysia woos Bangladesh medical tourists

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KUALA LUMPUR, April 7, 2015:

With the Malaysia My Second Home programme to entice foreign investments seeing rich Bangladesh nationals coming in tops as the most approved applicants, the Indian subcontinent’s nation is now being wooed for medical tourism next.

Malaysia is targeting a total of 20,000 medical tourists from Bangladesh this year, up 33% from last year, as it aims to become the medical tourism destination of choice for that country’s nationals, said Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC), an agency of the health ministry.

“Around 300,000 Bangladeshis visit Malaysia a year for tourism purposes. So why not extend your trip a little and get your health checked up or go for treatment?” MHTC newly-appointed chief executive officer Sherene Azura Azli told Bangladesh newspaper The Daily Star.

“We have sufficient availability of international standard hospitals, medical personnel and high-quality facilities to provide treatments across different ranges of the cost spectrum.

“The cost of medical check-ups and treatments in Malaysia are 30-40% cheaper than in Thailand and will be a third of the treatment cost in Singapore, both of which are currently the two most preferred destinations for Bangladeshi patients.”

Azli noted that doctors here cannot charge beyond the limit set by the Malaysian regulators.

Referring to a recent report that ranked Malaysia as the best medical travel destination in the world, Azli said that Malaysia has the opportunity to brand and position itself as a provider of affordable quality healthcare.

MHTC projected that more than one million people across the world to visit Malaysia for medical tourism purpose this year.

To encourage such goals, Malaysia Airlines, the nation’s flag carrier is offering a 30% discount on airfare for Bangladeshi patients available only through GD Assist, a subsidiary of Green Delta Insurance Company that has been acting as MHTC’s local agent in promoting Malaysian medical tourism.

“The discount is not the only issue, the most important factor is that we want to provide the best support and assistance from the very first step,” said Malaysia Airlines general manager in Dhaka Wan Mohd Ebrahem.

In November last year, GD Assist launched an insurance scheme, GD Health, to offer medical and health services in Malaysia.

Policyholders can get healthcare and medical services at affordable costs in Malaysian hospitals that are linked with MHTC.

“We want to provide an integrated value-added service to our clients so that all Bangladeshi people can visit Malaysia with a package of medical tourism and not only with a package of holidays,” said GD Assist director Farzana Chowdhury.

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