Rehabilitation is an extension of the medical model that practices person centred enablement. The foundations come from the Biopsychosocial Model and World Health Organization Model of disablement. It is an integrated part of all medical practices that aim at prevention and reduction of impairment by modifying the underlying pathology, in order to minimize the disabling sequelae.Current advancement of modern medicine has resulted in a paradoxical situation with increasingly more people surviving from illnesses and injuries. Disabilities can be complex which requires specific investigation, exploration, collaboration, treatment, intervention, training and education. It is here that Rehabilitation Medicine specialists, also known as a Rehabilitation Physicians play an essential role. The field of Rehabilitation Medicine aims to enhance and restore a person to his/her fullest physical , psychological, social, vocational, avocational, and educational potential, consistent with his/her physiology or anatomic impairment and environmental limitations. It is a patient focused, team-oriented medical specialty that promotes a person’s quality of life and functional outcome by making an individual ‘maximally abled’ again, through the application of rehabilitation principles and techniques.

In Malaysia, it was in 1980 the first Rehabilitation Medicine trainee was appointed and sent to University of London by the Faculty of Medicine, University Malaya. In 1985 the Malaysian Medical Council recognised Rehabilitation Medicine as a medical specialty. Since then Rehabilitation Medicine has been incorporated in the undergraduate medical curriculum which became an eye opener to other medical specialties toward the need of rehabilitation services.Historically, Rehabilitation services were first provided by the Department of Social Services, Ministry of National Unity and Social Development through Community-Based-Rehabilitation services. In 1994, Ministry of Health Malaysia embarked on various programs to facilitate the promotion of rehabilitation amongst persons with disability. In 1996, the first Rehabilitation Department in Kuala Lumpur General Hospital provided evidence for recognition of rehabilitation service in Malaysia. UiTM opened its door to the first trainee in 2008 and 2 Rehabilitation Physicians in 2010.

Currently there is a total of 50 Rehabilitation Physicians in Malaysia in which 9 lecturers are practicing in University of Malaya, 3 in University Teknologi MARA, 2 in University Kebangsaan Malaysia, 4 consultants practicing in private hospitals and the remaining 32 specialists are under the Ministry of Health Malaysia. It has been estimated that at least 10% of our population today have some form of disability. If one specialist manages to treat 5000 patients per year, we would require about 520 Rehabilitation Physicians in Malaysia.




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Faculty of Medicine,
Universiti Teknologi MARA,
Sungai Buloh Campus, Selangor Branch,
47000 Jalan Hospital, Sungai Buloh,
Selangor, MALAYSIA