Background: Since its introduction in 1991, Malaysian palliative care has made significant progress, with an estimated 26 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and 68 government hospitals providing palliative care facilities and services nationwide. Distinct models between these sectors create unique challenges for each sector in progressing palliative care, requiring different strategies to address these.
Methods: Drawing on existing literature available on palliative care in Malaysia and interviews from 10 management and healthcare staff of Malaysian palliative care NGOs, this article casts new light on the field. Specifically, the paper explores the various health-related and policy-related challenges NGOs have identified in progressing palliative care in the country, as well as the current and future strategies they employ to address these.
Results: Despite immense progress in Malaysian palliative care, existing services cannot meet the current and projected demand. The interviews identify numerous barriers hindering Malaysian palliative care, including financial matters, perception issues, logistical concerns and challenging government policies.
Conclusion: Increased advocacy, establishment of specialised palliative care education, and greater co-operation between different sectors are strongly recommended to help develop palliative care in Malaysia.