Malaysia National Men’s Health Plan of Action 2018 – 2023

Malaysia’s national plan has been prepared as a male-friendly framework to drive a more structured service delivery policy for adult males aged 18+ years. This example is relevant for countries interested in developing a gender-specific action plan for men or women’s health.

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Malaysia’s national plan has been prepared as a male-friendly framework to drive a more structured service delivery policy for adult male saged 18+ years. The plan has the following objectives:

  1. To extend men’s life expectancy by reducing premature deaths of men and boys.
  2. To improve men’s health by empowering them to live responsibly and through provision of timely and appropriate healthcare services.
  3. To promote men’s responsibility and active participation in the field of sexual and reproductive health
  4. To provide men, women and children with equal opportunities to improve their health.

The plan has six priority areas of focus:

  1. Motor vehicle accident / trauma
  2. Mental health
  3. Benign prostatic hyperplasia
  4. Prostate cancer
  5. Erectile dysfunction
  6. Risk Factors for cardiovascular diseases (Diabetes Mellitus Hypertension, obesity, hypercholesterolemia)

The plan builds on and is aligned with existing initiatives by the Ministry of Health (MOH) such as the life course approach used in the seventh Malaysian plan to enhance primary health services. Within this context health promotion, prevention, treatment and rehabilitation services need to be targeted and further expanded for men within healthcare facilities and at thec ommunity level.

Gender Responsiveness Assessment Scale (GRAS) and the elements of good practice for gender mainstreaming (GM) used

Gender-specific.  Gender and masculinity are specifically identified as impacting on men’s health and part of the plan is about encouraging men to modify their attitudes and behaviours to reduce the negative impacts of masculinity. For example, “Gender perceptions also have a crucial bearing on men’s health. How men perceive themselves as ‘masculine’ impacts on the value they place on their health and their health seeking behaviour.” The need to change provider’s attitudes towards men and their capacity isalso part of the plan.

The main aim of developing the plan of action is to promote gender equity and improve the quality of life and health of men. The rationale is to address gender inequality in healthcare and concerns about the socio-economic implications of such inequalities. Women’s involvement in the plan is stressed.

The plan was developed in collaboration with multiple government agencies including the ministry/department of education; women, family and community development; Islamic development; socia lsecurity; finance; human resources; and youth and sports. A range of non-governmental organizations were also involved.

The plan also reflects emerging good practices around engaging men and boys. For example, “Strategy 1.2 To improve the wellbeing of me nby emphasising the role sof being a father and spouse” with key activities including involvement of male spouse in prenatal, antenatal and postnatal care. In addition, the plan includes a commitment (as with the Australian plans) to expand the capacity and output of men’s health research in Malaysia. To this end a Malaysian Clearinghouse for Men’s Health has been established which archives all research related to men’s health in Malaysia as well as information on global/International efforts (see links).


Potential challenges as with most policies of this nature lie in the implementation and tracking of progress for the Strategy. This is a keygap with regard to gender mainstreaming efforts and health overall (3–5). In addition, the plan only focuses on adult males, given the importance of dealing with gender issues from the very beginning, and the importance of adolescence to adult healt this could prove a challenge in terms of fulfilling some of the goals of the plan such as extending life expectancy and providing children with equal opportunities to improve their health. Another potential challenge to implementation is the absence of an equivalent and complementary gender-specific plan for women and girls.

Relevant to countries who are interested in

Developing a gender-specific action plan for men or women’s health. It will be of particular relevance to countries in the Asian region that have similar socioeconomic and cultural contexts for action as well as health systems contexts. The plan is also of relevance in that it was developed with a focus on multisectoral as well as health systems action. It alsoincludes a plan for monitoring and evaluation over the next 10 years.

Action plan –

Clearinghouse for Men’s health- This includes the 2013 Asian Men’s Health report.

Adult Healthcare (formerly Women’s Health Unit)-


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