Malaysia enjoys a comparatively high standard of health, the result of long-established health and medical services. The country has improved its health care and social conditions and is considering a national health insurance plan. There are three main hospitals in Malaysia, all located in the capital, Kuala Lumpur: Subang Jaya Hospital, General Hospital, and Penang Adventist Hospital. Approximately 80% of the population had access to health care in 1993. As of 1999, there were an estimated0.7 physicians and 2.0 hospital beds per 1,000 people. In the same year, total health care expenditure was estimated at 2.5 % of GDP. As of 2002, the crude birth rate and overall mortality rate were estimated at, respectively, 24.22 and 5.2 per 1,000 people. In 1990–95, 51% of married women (ages 15 to 49) used contraception. Life expectancy has risen over the last decade and was 73 years in 2000. In 1994–95, 90% of the population had access to safe water, and 94% had adequate sanitation.
Under the tuberculosis control campaign, begun in 1961, the number of annual deaths from tuberculosis declined to 971 in 1970 and 672 in 1983. In 1999, there were only 111 reported cases of tuberculosis per 100,000 people. As a result of the yaws elimination campaign, begun in 1954, the disease was virtually eliminated in the late 1960s. A malaria eradication program, begun in 1967, resulted in a drop in the number of hospital admissions for malaria from 25,400 in 1970 to 8,274 in 1984. Malaria remains a common disease in Malaysia. At least 39,890 cases of malaria were reported in 1993.
In 1989–95, 23% of children under five years of age were still considered malnourished. Immunization rates from 1990–94 for children up to one year old were quite high: tuberculosis, 99%; diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus, 90%; polio, 90%; and measles, 81%. In 1999, rates for DPT and measles were, respectively, 93% and 88%.
Tobacco use has increased since the mid-1980s. As of 1995, each adult smoked an average of 1.9 kg (4.2 lbs) of tobacco per year. Between 1970 and 1989, cardiovascular disease death rates more than doubled. Among the main ethnic groups in Malaysia, those of Indian origins have the highest mortality rates compared to the Chinese and Malay. Similar trends exist for diabetes mortality.
As of 1999 the number of people living with HIV/AIDS was estimated at 49,000 and deaths from AIDS that year were estimated at 1,900. HIV prevalence was 0.42 per 100 adults. Infant mortality in 2000 was 8 per 1,000 live births. The maternal mortality rate in 1998 was 39 per 100,000 live births. The total fertility rate has dropped from 4.2 in 1980 to 3 in 2000.