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The establishment of a geriatric centre is very important in building a quality health system that is friendly to the elderly, according to Dr A'isyah Che Rahimi, a lecturer at Universiti Sains Malaysia’s School of Medical Sciences.

She said the biggest issue for a country is facilities that support the needs of holistic healthcare for senior citizens including physical, mental, social and spiritual health.

"Previously, the government has announced an initiative to increase the number of nurses specialising in gerontology. So, the establishment of this geriatric centre shows that the government is serious about building a health system that is friendly to the elderly," she told Bernama here today.

According to the United Nations (UN) projections, she said 15 per cent of the country's total population would reach the age of 60 years old and above by 2030.

Therefore, she said Malaysia needs to be prepared in various aspects of quality healthcare services for the elderly.

Meanwhile, Malaysian Public Health Organisation adviser Datuk Dr Zainal Ariffin Omar said the establishment of a geriatric centre is very necessary in preparing the country to face the challenges of being an ageing country.

In addition to facilities, he said the government also needs to be prepared in terms of service, health experts and officers trained in the field of gerontology.

When tabling the motion on the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) Mid-Term Review (MTR) at the Dewan Rakyat today, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said the government will establish a new geriatric centre to provide quality healthcare service to the elderly.

According to Anwar, the government is also developing a National Aging Action Plan to address the challenges and implications of an ageing country that will affect the country's socioeconomic and fiscal position.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency