Malaysian medical meetings bring healthy returns

Malaysia’s aim to become a medical meetings hub in Southeast Asia is coming to fruition, with Kuala Lumpur welcoming seven high-profile events in 2018, attracting more than 7,300 participants and delivering RM38.7 million in economic impact.

The Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (KLCC) hosted: the Congress of the World Council of Enterostomal Therapists (WCET) 2018; World Congress of World Society of Intravenous Anaesthesia Onlus-Target Controlled Infusion (SIVA-TCI) 2018; World Cancer Congress 2018; Asia Pacific Congress of Endoscopic and Laparoscopic Surgeons of Asia (ELSA) 2018; International Diabetes Federation-Western Pacific Region Congress (IDF-WPR) 2018; Malaysia International Dental Exhibition and Conference (MIDEC) 2018; and the 3 Masters: 4-Day Oral Rehabilitation Symposium & Hands-On 2018.

The Centre’s General Manager, Alan Pryor, said: “We are delighted to be the ‘venue of choice’ for medical business events in Malaysia. The country is fast developing a strong reputation for successfully hosting medical events and we look forward to forging even closer partnerships with the government, industry partners, our internationally-acclaimed professors and doctors and local medical associations, to make Malaysia the premier medical meetings hub in the region.”

Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB)’s goal of attracting major healthcare conferences to Malaysia aligns with Malaysian government plans that identify healthcare as one of 12 National Key Economic Areas (NKEA).

This includes: 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; constructing a ‘world-class campus for healthcare and bioscience’, and capitalising on the country’s reputation as a medical tourism stronghold.

Business events have been targeted as a leading driver of Malaysia’s economic transformation across all key sectors. Conferences are 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 and healthcare services.

The World Cancer Congress, for example, attracted more than 2,500 delegates from 120 countries to Kuala Lumpur. Post-congress analysis from hosting body the National Cancer Society of Malaysia stated that the event had strengthened the Society’s collaboration with the government. This included the commitment from Health Ministers in the region to lead the ASEAN cancer resolution in 2019, adopt a tobacco control act, reinforce universal health coverage, and advocate for a fully funded, resourced national cancer control plan. Bringing the Congress to Southeast Asia also enabled regional cancer control leaders to share best practices. This led to new partnerships and more chances for capacity building, and it also deepened local stakeholders’ understanding of the complexities of cancer control in low- and middle-income countries.

Pryor added: “The strong performance from this sector looks set to continue for us, as next year we already have eight medical meetings confirmed which are expected to attract more than 6,300 participants. A number of these events will be using our brand new 11,000 sqm expansion, which opens mid next year and provides additional flexible space for our clients to grow their events.”

Medical events taking place in 2019 include the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists Annual Scientific Meeting 2019; Urological Association of Asia Congress (UAA) 2019; ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) Summit 2019; Asia-Pacific Federation of Coloproctology Congress (APFCP) 2019; Malaysia International Dental Exhibition & Conference (MIDEC) 2019; and MDA (Malaysian Dental Association) Scientific Convention & Trade Exhibition (SCATE) 2019, while 2020 will bring the World Federation of Hemophilia (WFH) Congress.