If you are considering a career in the field of health sciences – whether in the disciplines of Biomedical Science, Dentistry, Pharmacy, Optometry, Medicine and others, know that your prospects are certainly bright.
This is because Malaysia’s aging population will propel the demand for healthcare – and certainly healthcare providers, researchers, scientists and professionals are much needed to provide quality health and medical care and to generate advancements in the field of health sciences. According to the World Health Organisation, there is a shortage of qualified health science professionals not just in Malaysia, but globally and across South East Asia.
In Malaysia alone, the estimated number of elderly (aged 60 and above) could hit a whopping 3.3 million by the year 2020. Undeniably, the need for health scientists will grow as well.
The Path to a Health Sciences Career
The majority of, if not all, health science professions begin with a formal tertiary education. SEGi University offers programs at varying levels from diploma to postgraduate courses for a number of health science disciplines such as biomedical science, dentistry, pharmacy, optometry, medicine and others.
Here is a closer look at health science courses in SEGi University and careers on which you can embark:
Dentistry is the branch of medicine that provides care and treatment not just for teeth and gums but for the craniofacial complex, according to Dean of Faculty of Dentistry, SEGi University, Datuk Dr Khairiyah Abd Muttalib. The work of dentists often extend beyond that. Specialisations in dentistry covers areas of craniofacial reconstruction as well as detection of (oral) manifestations of systemic diseases, far beyond teeth and gums, Dr Khairiyah explains.
She explains that dentistry is a noble profession which has the capacity to offer relief for painful ailments affecting the oral cavity as well as to restore health and improve aesthetics. The latter also serves to build self-esteem which goes a long way towards enhancing quality of life.
She believes that prospects for future dentists in Malaysia are strong, stating that, “Malaysia has a great need for dental specialists. Demand for oral healthcare is increasing with greater oral health awareness among Malaysians, who are increasingly cosmopolitan.”
The 5-year Bachelor of Dental Surgery degree course in SEGi University teaches students through a dynamic curriculum that encompasses scientific education and clinical training as well as admirable patient contact preparations to teach compassionate care that does not discriminate.
The profession of optometry is all about vision and related eye health care. Optometry represents a health care profession where optometrists deal with conditions affecting vision and related eye health problems.
The current landscape indicates that there are plenty of career opportunities for optometrists in Malaysia. This is borne out by the fact that there are only 1,800 optometrists in Malaysia, whereas the actual number required is a lot more if the ratio of 1 practitioner to 10,000 population is aimed for.
The Dean of SEGi University’s Faculty of Optometry & Vision Sciences, Professor Azrin Ariffin, pointed out the shortage of optometrists in the country is a real one inasfar as primary eye care is concerned, as the shortage means that the eye surgeons, i.e. the ophthalmologists have to put in a lot of work into primary eye care on top of their already busy surgical schedules. Prof Azrin added that “With more competent optometrists in the community, more people will obtain quality primary eye care which often is just a matter of getting a proper eye examination that results in a pair of spectacles/contact lenses”. This is because optometrists are trained to examine both the function and the health of the eyes in their care of patients who consult them, even just for the purpose of updating their spectacles.
In Malaysia, optometrists are part of a respected and protected profession that requires registration with the Malaysian Optical Council before they may assume the designation of ‘optometrists’. More importantly, registration with the council dictates that new graduates must graduate from institutions of higher learning that are recognized by the Malaysian government.
SEGi University is recognised and offers a highly effective four-year degree program (and postgraduate program by research) in optometry. Upon graduating with the Bachelor of Optometry (Hons) degree, graduates can pursue a career in independent private practice or optical retail chain as well as work in private ophthalmology clinics and hospital eye departments among others.
If you have a passion to help the sick and ailing as well as improve the health and wellbeing of your fellow man, this is the pathway towards earning credentials as a medical doctor.
But should you study medicine in Malaysia? The Medicine Faculty Dean of SEGi University, Professor Dr Samiah Yasmin Abdul Kadir, is of the opinion that our country can in fact be the perfect locale to read medicine. She explains that the “knowledge of medicines and its application varies with the people and their environment”. Thus, studying disease patterns in the country of which you intend to practice makes more sense.
SEGi’s five-year degree course will allow you to carry the title of ‘Dr’, after which, you can opt to be a practicing doctor that treats patients. This will include further ‘housemanship’ training for two years in government hospitals in Malaysia.
Since the field of medicine is wide, you can proceed to specialise or train in many other areas that pique your interests. Case in point, Dr Hazlita Dato M Isa developed a curiosity for ophthalmology in her early days of studying medicine. Now a consultant ophthalmologist at Gleneagles Hospital Kuala Lumpur, she is excited about the growth potential of ophthalmology in Malaysia. She mentions that “exciting new technologies and treatments are on the horizon for medical and surgical retina, refractive surgery is also on the rise”.
But if you aren’t planning on seeing patients like Dr Hazlita does, you can also choose to be a non-practicing doctor that focuses on research for interdisciplinary studies such as anatomy, physiology, medical microbiology and many others.
A career in biomedical science primarily focuses on the understanding and treatment of diseases that affect human beings. This field of study includes plenty of research, which according to the Faculty Dean of SEGi University, presents as both a primary challenge and an exciting opportunity.
This is because; biomedical scientists and researchers will be equipped with the same basic knowledge as a medical doctor (without a license to practice) but with the additional opportunity to discover new methods of treatment, diagnosis and research.
If you are keen to get started on a career in biomedical science, SEGi University offers a three-year course that yields possible career opportunities as a research scientist, microbiologist, haematologist and even a scientific journalist among others.
With an in-depth knowledge of medicine, pharmacists are able to help the wellbeing of patients and the community in many ways. Pharmacists work in hospitals where they dispense and review patients’ medications, conduct research on various aspects of medicines, oversee and ensure quality of medicines manufactured by pharmaceutical companies. They can even set up their own pharmacy business. This clearly shows that career opportunities are in abundance for pharmacy graduates.
Associate Professor Dr Tey Kim Kuan, the Dean of Faculty of Pharmacy at SEGi University believes that the booming pharmaceutical industry, both locally and globally, has resulted in increasing demand for pharmacists in Malaysia and worldwide, in both public and private sectors.
SEGi University offers a four-year undergraduate pharmacy programme with the objectives of equipping students with sound knowledge and essential soft skills as well as competencies to prepare them for their future careers. Students will ‘learn by doing’ in simulated environment and through structured and planned placements in hospitals, community pharmacies and pharmaceutical companies.
Contact SEGi University Kota Damansara at 03-6145 1777.