Malaysia hopes hosting the prestigious World Federation of Hemophilia (WFH) Congress 2020 will help the country grow its visitor economy in the area of medical tourism.
The biennial congress, said to be the most significant international forum for the bleeding disorders community, is coming to Malaysia for the first time. It is expected to attract leading healthcare experts from 125 countries from 14 to 18 June 2020 at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.
The event is being hosted by the Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB), an agency under the Ministry of Tourism and Culture Malaysia, joined by the Hemophilia Society of Malaysia and affiliate partner, World Federation of Hemophilia (WFH).
MyCEB CEO Datuk Zulkefli Haji Sharif says: “Malaysia’s event journey is at a pivotal stage. Health-focused congress like WFH World Congress 2020 plays an important role in increasing the number of international delegates and the benefits are far-reaching. Malaysia will witness the congregation of 4,300 delegates from all over the world and the congress comes in at a time when the Malaysia medical tourism market is expected to witness a pronounced growth.”
Malaysia’s healthcare sector is thriving. It has been identified as one of 12 National Key Economic Areas (NKEA) to receive substantial government support and funding as Malaysia aims to transform into a high-income economy by 2020.
The Healthcare NKEA focuses on encouraging public-private collaboration and attracting investment in key manufacturing and service industries. Projects include: fostering a homegrown pharmaceutical industry; building on Malaysia’s strong track record in electronics manufacturing to make the transition to high-value medical device manufacturing; establishing care services for the elderly; and constructing a ‘world-class campus for healthcare and bioscience’.
Another major driver in Malaysia’s healthcare sector is its cheap, alternative brand of medical tourism. The Ministry of Health founded the Malaysian Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC) in 2009 to promote and develop the medical tourism industry with good effect; at the International Medical Travel Journal’s (IMTJ) Medical Travel Awards 2016, Malaysia received an array of awards, including ‘Destination of the Year’.
Within the tourism sector – Malaysia’s fifth-largest industry – the medical subsector expanded by more than 20 per cent a year from 2011-2014, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). Revenues from medical tourism in 2010 totalled RM380m (US$86m), and although initially projected to grow annually by 10 per cent up until 2020, actual figures are closer to 30 per cent.
Business events have been targeted as a leading driver of Malaysia’s economic transformation across all key sectors. The WFH conference is seen as a means of strengthening Malaysia’s international profile in the healthcare sector, as well as building trade and investment links, and expanding local knowledge.
“In line with MyCEB’s goal of attracting major healthcare conferences to Malaysia, the congress will see an impressive line-up of speakers comprising of leading experts in the field such as practitioners, scientists, doctors, specialists, pharmaceuticals and pharmacists of inherited blood disorders and healthcare officials. The congress will showcase the latest scientific and clinical developments in research, diagnostics as well as disease management and is expected to deliver an estimated economic impact of RM55.1 million to the country,” Datuk Zulkefli Haji Sharif continued.
The WFH World Congress 2020 will also be a focal point in the region for healthcare providers in the field and for patients with bleeding disorders and their families.
Taqrir Akramin Khalib, President of Hemophilia Society of Malaysia, added: “Due to its location and a great value for money destination, the coming WFH World Congress 2020 in Kuala Lumpur will benefit not only the Malaysian hemophilia community but also the hemophilia communities in the Southeast Asian countries.”
He continued to acknowledge that hemophilia treatment and care are generally still limited in this part of the world. “Hopefully WFH World Congress 2020 in Kuala Lumpur will provide more exposure and advocate for an improvement in the treatment as well as care of people with hemophilia in the region and worldwide.”
(via MYCEB, Global Risk Insights)
Featured image: The Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre