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Health

With the following advice and precautions, you should keep as healthy as you do at home. In Southeast Asia the health risks are different from those encountered Europe or the USA, especially in the tropical regions, but the region's medical practitioners have particular experience in dealing with locally occurring diseases, There is an obvious difference in health risks between the business traveller who tends to stay in international class hotels in large cities and the backpacker ti-6through rural areas. There are no hard and fast rules to follow; you will often have to make your own judgements on the healthiness or otherwise of your surrounding.

Medical facilities
Malaysian health care is excellent and private clinics are found in most small town there are good government hospitals in major cities. All state capitals have general hospitals and every town has a district hospital. If you are in a city it may be worthwhile, calling on your embassy to provide a list of recommended doctors. Big hotels have their own in-house doctors who are extremely expensive. Other doctors are listed in the telephone directory. Most doctors speak English, but the likelihood of finding this and a good standard of care diminishes very rapidly as you move away from the big cities. On the whole it is inexpensive to visit a private doctor (about RM30-50),and a sojourn in a government hospital is cheaper than most hotels (no a/c or pool)

Pharmaceuticals are available from numerous outlets including shopping centres, supermarkets and hotels. Most pharmacists are open 0900-1800 Monday-Saturday. A number of drugs that can only be obtained on prescription in Western countries can be bought over the counter in Malaysia. Traditional Chinese pharmacies, mostly found in Chinatowns, also dispense Chinese medicines, and will advise on traditional, remedies for most ailments. Facilities in East Malaysia are not as good as those on the Peninsula. There are systems and traditions of medicine wholly different from the Western model especially in rural areas and you may be confronted with less orthodox form of treatment such as herbal medicine and acupuncture. At least you can be sure that local practitioners have a lot of experience with the particular diseases of their region.

Medicines
If you are a long way away from medical help, a certain amount of self-administered medication may be necessary and you will find many of the drugs available have familiar names However, always check the date stamping (sell-by date) and buy from reputable pharmacists because the shelf life of some items, especially vaccines and, antibiotics, is markedly reduced in hot conditions. Unfortunately, many locally produced drugs are not subjected to quality control procedures so can be



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