SINCE 2023


Planting the seeds of palliative care in the largest state of Malaysia

country updates

Sarawak is a huge state with a health system that mainly consists of health clinics in rural areas with only a few hospitals in urban areas that are not easily accessible. Hence the approach here is to focus mainly on improving palliative care to healthcare workers in the health clinics but neglecting hospital based palliative care.​
Dr Ednin Hamzah
CEO Hospis Malaysia

Our IMpact


[In progress]


[In progress]

On 13th April 2023, Prof. Dato Sri Sim Kui Hian (seated left) represented the state of Sarawak to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with Dr Ednin Hamzah (seated right), chair of APHN, to kickstart Lien Collab’s three-year palliative care training and educational programme in Sarawak.

Sarawak’s health system consists mainly of rural health clinics and a few urban hospitals. Our project could develop a new model where palliative care is administered via the network of health clinics instead of being centred on its hospitals.
Dr Ghauri Aggarwal
Palliative care specialist, Concord Hospital, Australia

Sarawak, the largest state in Malaysia, sits on the island of Borneo. Most of its population of 3 million reside in rural areas, while there are just a few urban centers such its capaital city of Kuching. Palliative care services in the country are likely to be accessible to only a tiny portion of the population, and the estimated coverage for Malaysia as a whole is around 10%.

In early 2022, representatives from the palliative care community in Sarawak approached Lien Collab to initiate a training programme project. Our team followed up with a trip to Kuching where we met various key stakeholders, including the deputy premier of Sarawak, the director of Sarawak General Hospital, director of Sibu Hospital, director of Two Tree Lodge Hospice and the chief executive officer of Kuching Life Care.

Sarawak General Hospital is the largest such facility in the state.

The trip also helped the team learn about the Sarawak context. Many of its healthcare are able to communicate in English and their local languages. There were also various gaps in the existing system that an upcoming state task force dedicated to palliative care can address. As a result of the meetings, Sarawak General Hospital was identified as a possible training site too.

In April 2023, the Lien Collab Palliative Care Workshop was successfully organised in Sarawak. It provided participants from various state hospitals and health clinics knowledge and skills in palliative care principles, pain management, communication, and end-of-life care. The workshop also witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Sarawak and Lien Collab—setting a milestone in the efforts to expand palliative care services beyond Sarawak’s urban areas and briing more equitable access across the state.

There is every chance that a new model of palliative care could emerge from the Lien Collaborative that centres on building a network of health clinics that allows such disperse communities still able to access palliative care with minimal need for hospital based support. This will require higher levels of skills and competency at a primary care level.
Dr Ednin Hamzah
CEO Hospis Malaysia

On the Ground


The programme’s country lead is:

Dr Ednin Hamzah (Malaysia)


Bringing Relief to Asia Together

Lien Collaborative for Palliative Care (Lien Collab) draws on philanthropy, health institutions, palliative care service providers, individuals and more to strengthen leadership and capacity in bringing pain relief to all.

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