Medical Tourism: What? Get My Knee Fixed Whilst On Holiday?

Did you know that every year at least 20 million people from all over the globe travel abroad to seek medical attention? Medical tourism is the process of travelling outside the country of residence for the purpose of receiving medical care. It has become a worldwide, multibillion-dollar industry that is expected to grow considerably in the next decade. For most medical tourists, high healthcare costs in their home country are one of the main reasons why they seek to receive medical care abroad. On the plus side, the family accompanying the patient can also enjoy a holiday at the same destination. Here’s a story of Annisa and her family who travelled abroad to Penang, Malaysia for medical tourism.

Malaysia is regarded a one of the most popular medical tourism destinations in the world.
Foreign patients from all over the world flock to Malaysia as their first choice of destination for medical tourism.
Source: Olga Guryanova from Unsplash

Learning About Malaysia As A Medical Tourism Destination

Annisa, 48, is a successful public relations professional. Her busy daily schedule usually consists of meetings with clients. Her husband, Joseph, 50, is an architect. Together they have two children, Josh and Anita. Annisa’s mother, Dewi, has since moved in with the family due to her old age. The happy family currently resides in Medan, Indonesia.

While having lunch at a café near her office, Annisa received a call from her mother. She complained about her aching knees yet again. Her knee problem has been bothering her for the longest time. Dewi, who is well into her seventies, is suffering from osteoarthritis. She has been experiencing persistent knee pain and reduced mobility. Worried for her mother’s well-being, Annisa began asking her contacts to seek treatment options overseas due to more advanced medical facilities. Through word of mouth, Annisa found out from her friend, Marina, about the quality medical care in Penang, Malaysia. Marina’s mother-in-law had undergone a knee replacement surgery at Pantai Hospital Penang last year. Annisa then called her husband, Joseph, to ask for his opinion on the matter. Joseph mentioned that his close acquaintances have had previous medical treatment in Malaysia. They highly recommend Malaysia as a destination for medical tourism.

Travelling To Malaysia For Medical Treatments

A popular destination for travellers seeking medical treatments, Penang is less than an hour’s flight from Medan, Indonesia. Penang is located off the west coast of northern Peninsular Malaysia. In recent years, it has seen a tremendous surge in medical tourists from all over the world, including those from Singapore, Bangladesh, China, India, Japan, Africa, and Indonesia. Most of these patients are usually seeking cardiology, orthopaedics, neurology, oncology, and dental treatments. Compared to seeking medical treatments and services in the US and Europe, the medical cost in Penang is five times lower without compromising on the quality of medical treatments and services.

Malaysia is one of the the top 10 medical tourism destinations in the world according to Patients Beyond Borders. Over the years, Malaysia gradually established itself as one of the most sought after countries internationally for its medical tourism. It has achieved numbers as high as 1 million visitors in 2017 with a revenue of MYR 1.2 billion. The Malaysia Health Tourism Council (MHTC) has even won the International Medical Travel Journal’s “Best Medical Tourism Destination of The Year” for the fourth time this year.

Doctor is performing surgery on a patient.
Malaysia has great medical facilities and professional staff who are well-prepared to treat international medical tourists.
Source: Français from Pixabay

Malaysia, Truly Asia

Carrying the tourism slogan “Malaysia, Truly Asia”, Malaysia has become a desirable holiday destination for tourists from all over the world. The slogan truly encapsulates the essence of Malaysia’s uniqueness and allure that makes it the perfect holiday destination. Malaysia is where all the colours, flavours, sounds and sights of Asia come together beautifully as one. For medical tourists, their accompanying family members are free to explore Penang while they receive the best care at the hospital of their choice. Besides being a food haven, Penang has much to offer in terms of lodging, shopping and getting around. The similarities in language, culture and food between both countries is what drew Annisa to choose Penang for her mother’s medical treatment.

Annisa’s husband, Joseph, is a foodie at heart who loves hunting for good eats. She thought he would find joy sampling Penang’s delicacies such as Char Kuey Teow, Assam Laksa and Cendol. Whilst both her children Josh and Anita enjoy fun, outdoor adventures the most. They would have a blast at places of interest such as Penang Bird Park, Penang Hill and Penang’s Escape Theme Park. Annisa, on the other hand, enjoys retail therapy during holidays. The many shopping malls in Penang can offer her the ultimate shopping experience.

The other aspect of medical tourism introduces the beautiful culture that Penang has to offer to tourists.
Penang’s street art is one of the must-see tourist spots. This particular mural is named “Kids On Bicycle” and can be spotted at Lebuh Armenian in George Town, Penang.
Source: Kamiel Choi from Pixabay

Planning A Medical Tourism Trip

While browsing through information online on medical tourism, Annisa came across MHTC’s web page mentioning an arranged transportation service for medical tourists. This makes it easier for her mother to travel with her aching knee problems. It would also be less of a hassle for the family to find their way around Penang. Arranging the trip was a stress-free experience unlike most of her other holiday plans.

After telling her family about her plans, Annisa’s mother, Dewi, was most pleased with the well-thought out arrangement. Both her children were beyond excited when they heard about their year-end holiday destination. Joseph was already looking forward to clearing his work commitments before he takes leave for their family trip.

Medical tourists can expect no nothing but the best care and service when travelling to Malaysia for medical tourism.
Medical tourists can expect to receive the best care and service from Malaysia’s medical tourism staff, thanks to Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC)’s specially-curated seamless healthcare journey.
Source: Jeshoots from Unsplash

A Stress-Free Travel Plan

With all the arrangements done, Annisa and her family now look forward to their medical tourism trip to Penang, Malaysia. Dewi can finally get the surgery for her knee and the family can all enjoy some family time together on the tropical island.

If you would also like to enjoy a hassle-free experience like Annisa and her family, please visit Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council‘s official website to learn more about medical tourism in Malaysia.

In light of the global COVID-19 pandemic, travel restrictions as well as other preventive measures have been put in place in most countries to curb the virus outbreak. Please seek prior professional medical advice on whether your medical condition allows you to travel. Also, find out more about the relevant standard operating procedures and quarantines requirements for healthcare travellers beforehand.


Disclaimer: The story and characters mentioned above are purely fictional, but the industry itself, and the services offered are real. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

E Wen YEO

About E Wen YEO

A budding linguist with an education background in both science and arts, E Wen loves meeting people from all cultural background. The more diverse the people she meets, the wider her view of the world she'd see. She also has a soft spot for fluffy kitties and horror flicks.

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