2

Finance and human resource effecting
Myanmar’s healthcare sector
HTOO THANT for them have to also be added in the
budget,” the Union Minister added.

T
hailand which is Myanmar’s Hluttaw MPs usually raise questions based
immediate neighbour, yearly earns on the difficulties that their constituencies
millions of foreign currency from are facing such as to extend rural medical
overseas patients by providing them with centers, to appoint more midwives and nurses
international standard treatments and its and also to provide sufficient amount of
state-of-the-art medical facilities where as doctors, medicines and medical equipment
Myanmar due to lack of human resources and to towns. Even in Yamethin, the nearest
finance makes it is difficult even to cover the township to Nay Pyi Taw does not have a sub
local healthcare sector. township hospital so people who dwell in
According to the ASEAN healthcare rural areas face much difficulties in receiving
communiqué, some ASEAN member medical treatment and even lose their lives
countries receive assistance to provide said U Tun Tun Win, Hluttaw MP of Yamethin
international standard healthcare compared township.
to some western nations so health services U Zone Teint, another Pyithu Hlauttaw
are even much cheaper. Therefore, these MP from Chi Phwe township in Kachin
countries yearly receive millions of dollars State said that although there is a 500 bed
from overseas patients who come for hospital in Myitkyina for the whole state,
medical treatment. there are no specialists to treat patients
Thailand’s medical tourism earns US$ 2 so people feel very sad and in times of
billion per year which is about 40 percent of emergency, they always have to travel to
other ASEAN counties health tourism sector. either Mandalay or Yangon for medical
Although questions were raised at treatment which cost them a fortune.
Hluttaw sessions regarding healthcare, reply “ For instance, there are no specialists
from the concerned ministry was that not to such as neurologists, cardiologists,
mention medical tourism, at present even to gastroenterologists and urologists in this
cover healthcare for the citizens are unable hospital, so patients have to travel either to
due to constraints of financial and human Mandalay or Yangon for treatment but as
resource, meaning healthcare workers. travel expense, hospital fees etc..are so high
Currently, even expanding township level some even cannot afford to go and have to Emergency assistance provided to a patient in an ambulance. Photos: Zarni Phyo
hospitals to provide medical cover to the give up their lives” said a native who had
rural populace are difficult, hospitals in experienced this kind of situation. At present, there are five 200 bed region billion for 2014-2015, K840.976 billion for
towns and cities are also facing difficulties The Union Minister said that there are still and state level hospitals, 10 central level 2015-2016, K831.052 billion for 2016-2017
to appoint sufficient amount of doctors many difficulties to fulfill the health services hospitals and 30 specialist hospitals. There and for the current 2017-2018 financial year
says Dr. Myint Htwe, Union Minister for of the states and regions. “If I have to be are also 1123 township and sub township K1077 billion has been allocated.
Health and Sports. straightforward, when a state or region request hospitals in Myanmar. Although the WHO As for Malaysia, the healthcare
“Construction of new hospitals, for a 500 bed hospital another state or region indicates that it is necessary to have three expenditure in 2013 was US$13.7 billion
extending and renovating existing hospitals, also raises the same request. Therefore due to beds for every 1000 patients, it is still and is expected to rise to US$22.9 billion
constructing service apartments and building the actual situation, when a 500 bed hospital is unclear that how many beds are there for in 2018. In the case of Singapore in 2015,
new 16-bed sub township hospitals all depend provided, together with the hospital, medicines patients in a country like Myanmar with a 11 percent of the GDP, which amounts to
on the budget allocated. In this process and medical equipment can be provided. population of about 51 million. S$76.9 billion, was allocated for the health
approximately about 40 sub township However, it is impossible to provide human According the 2015 statistics of the WHO, sector. Although the expenditure for the
hospitals can be constructed during a resource such as doctors, technicians to that in countries that are low in development, health sector of those countries are much
financial year,” Dr. Myint Htwe, Union hospital immediately. Although the situation is fundamental healthcare and prevention higher than Myanmar, there are healthcare
Minister for Health and Sports explained obvious it is difficult to fulfill it.” for a person is approximately US$60 but in tourism which support their health sectors.
to the Pyithu Hlauttaw session on June 5. Therefore the Ministry is nurturing more Myanmar the allocation for the Ministry of During 2015, there were 600000 health
Doctors who have to serve in far-flung areas specialists. For this year 2017, there are Health and Sports is only just K1000 billion related tourists who visited Malaysia where
such as border areas face difficulties for plans to nurture 642 specialists, 820 in says Dr. San Shwe Win, Pyithu Hluttaw the country received millions of US dollars.
dwelling, so the cost of 2018 and 767 in 2019. Although previously MP of Yekyi Township in the Ayeyarwaddy In the Philippines, the government and the
building living there were plans to increase the human Region. private sector are working to together as
quarters resource such as specialist, this plan was So if calculated with the allocated budget, Public-Private Partnership(PPP) to raise the
not implemented. the health expenditure for a person would healthcare sector. Similarly in Myanmar, a
Nevertheless, plans have been only be US$20. health insurance system should be set up to
drawn up for the years 2018- However, since the fiscal year 2011- relieve the burden of the public said Dr. San
2021. 2012, the government has increased the Shwe Win.
expenditure of the healthcare sector. “Change in social-economic system,
According to the approved statistics increase of growth rate, occurrence in
K86.581billion for 2011-2012, K381.254 new types of diseases, lack of healthcare
billion for 2012-2013, K484.383 knowledge, scarce in health funds and lack
billion for 2013-2014, of medicines are factors that directly affect
K661.882 the public. So when this kind of situation
arises people have to bare about 80 percent
of the total cost which is a burden for them.
Therefore, a system which can effectively
support the government’s healthcare system
and provide necessary healthcare to the
public, some kind of a health insurance
scheme should be set up,” he said.
“Myanmar’s healthcare expenditure
is only five percent of the total budget
and is far more behind the expenditure
of other low-income countries where
their expenditure is nine percent. A lot
of fatalities happen due to unaffordable
treatment cost,” says U Win Win, Hluttaw
MP of Ingapu Township in the Ayayarwaddy
Region who commented on the burden
people face in their daily lives regarding
health matters.
Translation by Khine Thazin Han,
Kyaw Soe Htet and Zar Zar Soe
The Yangon Children’s Hospital (YCH) is a major public hospital in Yangon.
4
Myanmar’s health sector is still underdeveloped. The country needs to build capacity by adding
doctors and nurses to cope with the growing number of patients. In general, low income
patients continue to rely on state owned hospitals, particularly Yangon General Hospital.
To find out the latest situation at the city’s most popular hospital, Myanmar Times reporter
Myint Kay Thi interviewed the hospital’s Medical Superintendent Dr Aye Ko Ko about the
working conditions of its doctors and nurses, and the cost of drugs and medical equipment.

Interview with Dr Aye Ko Ko, Medical
Superintendent of Yangon General Hospital
MYINT KAY THI as basic medicine and emergency
department drugs are provided
Q: How many departments are free of charge. But, patients have
there in Yangon General Hospital to bare the cost of some medicine
and what kinds of diseases are that have run out as there are
treated there? a lot of patients at the hospital.
For this year, Yangon General
A: Yangon General Hospital was Hospital’s yearly drug expenditure
upgraded in 2016 to a hospital for the emergency department is
that can provide 2000 beds. It’s K5.3billion. That’s why, in the long
also a teaching hospital. As a run, we cannot continue giving out
result of the upgrades, many new free drugs. There is also a plan
departments were formed. They are by the government to establish
the tropical medicine department, a health insurance system. That
hormonal disease treatment topic is being discussed in the
department, and hand surgery Hluttaw. If it is approved, there
department. The Pharmacology might be changes in the drug
Department previously had three treatment system.
patient wards, but it has been
upgraded to four wards. There Q: Yangon General Hospital
are Doctors and nurses are also seems to have become
assigned to these wards. Other overcrowded due to large number
necessary equipment and drugs of patients receiving treatment.
have also been provided. Currently, Are there any plans to expand
there are 27 departments. Besides the wards?
Obstetrics and Gynecology,
Yangon General Hospital has an A: The main reason is the cancer
emergency department, injury patients. There have been a lot Dr. Aye Ko Ko, medical superintendent of Yangon General Hospital.  Photo: Myint Kay Thi
units, cancer center and other more cancer patients lately. The
health services. number of patients receiving Q: Can you tell us about the that are accidently chopped off department sees 500 patients
tube feeding and chemotherapy improvement of treatments and or cut can be reattached, if the a day. And the number of
Q: How large a staff is Yangon has risen, so there is some medical equipment at the Yangon patient is brought in time to inpatients is 2000 to 2500. They
General Hospital operating with? overcrowding. The construction General Hospital, and what can the hand surgery department. come from every region and state.
And, can you talk about the full of a five-storey wing intended for patients expect when they come Furthermore, successful
payment, cost-sharing, and free- cancer patients is near completion in for check-up? treatments can be provided Q: What programmes are
of-charge health services? and will probably be finished around to patients at the emergency planned by Yangon General
November. Another new five-storey A: This hospital has all the department with a thoracis Hospital in the future?
A: If you add specialists and building will be constructed by the modern equipment of a 2000- aortic aneurysm or rupture.
assistant doctors, the number of Ministry of Construction facing bed hospital, such as Positron Those with blocked bold vessels A: There are plans to open a new
doctors are more than 400. With Anawrahta Road. After those emission tomography, computed resulting in stroke will be given medical treatment department.
the addition of assistant nurses, buildings are transferred to us, it tomography (PET-CT), and cancer clot-bursting medicine. Of Under a project planned by the
there are more than 700 nurses. will be used as a patient treatment scanning device. Before, you had course the success of treatment Ministry of Health and Sports,
More than 60 new assistant wards for sick patients. As soon to go to Bangkok or Singapore rate depends on the patient’s pharmacies will be reopened at
nurses have been appointed. But as we’ve completed all these to get PET-CT scans, but now age, the prevalence of the Central Hospitals, and canteens
red-uniformed nurse, numbering tasks, patients will be able to stay you can do it at Yangon General disease, and the time taken to will be opened, with the aim of
about 300, are currently idle. We comfortably at a spacious hospital. Hospital. Other necessary reach the hospital. providing patients with clean,
need more nurses, Currently the Also, the Neurology Department has equipment and devices have also The number of patients receiving affordable meals. Those are the
number of patients are more than been relocated to North Okkalapa been installed, and we will try to treatment daily at Yangon current plans, which I believe will
the number of nurses. Drugs are Township, so patients can be install more new devices as they General Hospital is between be fulfilled by the end of 2017.
not under the cost-sharing system, diagnosed there. become available. Also, fingers 300 to 400. The emergency Translation by Kyaw Soe Htet

HEALTH SUPPLEMENT 2017
Deputy Editor-in-Chief: Staff writers: Photography: Cover design: For feedback and enquiries,please contact
Myo Lwin Nay Aung, Htoo Thant, Aung Htay Hlaing, Tin Zaw Htway Winaung247@gmail.com
Hein Min Latt, Myint Kay Thi, Zarni Phyo,
Editor: Pyae Thet Phyo, Khin Su Wai, Naing Wynn Htoon, Cover Photos:
Win Aung Win Aung, Maung Zaw Nyan Zay Htet Shutterstock
Sub-editor: Layout design:
P Vijian Khin Zaw
5

Rural healthcare expectations
NAY AUNG medicines advertised in the media unable to arrive on time to deliver
from the nearest shops. However if the baby from a pregnant woman.

M
agwe region located in the the situation gets worse they just go Although the child was born by the
central part of Myanmar has to that woman to take an injection. help of the villagers it died about an
twenty five townships and “Let alone health assistants, even hour later.
according to the 2014 census urban administrative authorities barely Many residents from these villages
population constitutes only fifteen visit the villages which are on the are still facing a situation where
percent of the total region. mountain ranges so when the elderly women give birth while working
Therefore, eighty five percent of and children fall sick we have to in the fields and then they have to
the people live in rural areas. In spite carry them on our shoulders to the take home their newborn babies in
of its high population ratio, access to sub- rural health centers, but if the bamboo baskets. A nurse providing health assistance to villagers. Photo: Nay Aung
healthcare is still weak in those rural situation deteriotates we have to take “When elderly people are ill or feel
areas according to local residence. them to the nearest clinic” said village week, I give them intravenous vitamin An anonymous person said that Antivenin injection cannot be
The topography of the region administrator U Phone Naing from injections and for normal fever I also one village track medical centre in given to the patient without having
which is a combination of plains and Htaw Zar village, which is situated on give them injections, which I learnt Taungtwingyi Township had to take any knowledge as side effects may
mountains makes it more difficult the mountain range west of Magwe from a midwife about three years ago care of 13 village tracks which include be severe. When a health official
to reach and rural residents on region. of the village track where I live,” says 48 villages. So it is questionable inquires who injects the antivenin to
mountain ranges often experience In these areas, although civil a woman who is providing healthcare whether that village track medical the patient, nobody has the answer
barriers to healthcare that limit their societies are helping out and to the villagers. centre was able to handle snake bite and it is difficult to stop them or give
ability to obtain the care they need. So providing assistance in projects Another danger which falls upon cases where there are so many snakes advice from using antivenin without
most rural people are still reluctant such as anti-malaria campaign, the villagers in central Myanmar is in the central regions of Myanmar. any knowledge.
to rely upon sub-rural health centers they still lack in providing basic snakebites, especially a venomous Previously there was no antivenin Due to lack of health services,
(SRHC) and they prefer traditional healthcare which is most important snake. “When a person is bitten by a in every village track health centre but healthcare conditions are still
and folk medicines, a health assistant for the villagers. An official from the snake, a rope is tied just above the now they say that sufficient amount of worrisome in villages in Magwe
assigned in Taungdwingyi township said. Myanmar Medical Association said place where it is bitten and let him antivenin has been provided to all the Region. Although natives of this
Regarding healthcare, a residence that transportation plays a vital role swallow cowhage seeds, which is village tracks in the region. region have been expecting for skillful
in Min Hla Township said, “For an in the health sector of rural areas. the traditional medicine for the first Villagers from those village tracks health assistants till to date they still
ordinary sickness, we just get the Road connectivity is one of the aid treatment for snake bites. Then say that they have purchased have to depend on their traditional
injection from the woman (illegal main difficulties for rural healthcare. the patient is taken to the nearest antivenin on a self-helped basis in medical treatments to survive.
health practioner) in the village. That A walk through ascending and medical centre,” said Mai Pan Yi, the an attempt to save the lives of their Therefore, people in rural areas
woman is a native of this village. descending parts to some villages on in-charge of the youth network of Nge villagers. are still longing for the day when
She learnt while a health assistant the mountain range from the nearest Pe township. However a health official said that professional health workers will
(HA) came to the village. Due to a traffic road will take at least three to “Although they say that there are although these villages have purchased arrive to their villages and take care
variety of access barriers, township four hours. sufficient amount of antivenin in antivenin in case of snake bites, nobody of their health so as for them to carry
medical officials are unable to come Just about two months ago a sad township hospitals, there are only has any training how to use or when out their daily livelihood in peace of
to the villages frequently.” As for event occurred due to difficulties in four ampoules in each village track to give this antivenin injection when a mind.
aches and pains, villagers buy the transportation, where a midwife was medical centers,” said a health official. snake bite occurs. Translation by Zaw Nyunt
6

Why go abroad for medical treatment?
Most privileged class prefer foreign hospitals due to the treatment and services provided

Air ambulance service has become part of the package for taking treatment abroad. Photo: Bangkok Hospital

MYINT KAY THI of Global Assistant Travel Medical Services. She morning, noon and night and also provided convenient,” said another couple who went to
also said that patients have begun to use the air in between meals like hot drinks such as Bangkok for medical checkup.

W
hen a person or if one of his family ambulance service. Ovaltine, Milo, biscuits and cookies, so it was Most of the people in our country who
members becomes ill, not to men- “In cases of emergency, and if the patient or about five meals within a day. Here in our can afford prefer to have their medical
tion chronic illness but just even a family request for air ambulance service, we country Nasal endoscopy is performed but as checkups with specialists, state-of-the-art
minor illness, the first thing that comes into can provide this service which can transfer there are so many patients, the doctor cannot medical equipment and advance medical
that person’s mind is anxiety. Therefore, as the patient to that hospital in a particular pay attention to each and every patient said treatment so they travel abroad for treatment
soon as a person gets ill, he or she goes to a country within six hours. There are at least Ko Phyo Thu who shared his experience of said Dr. May Myat Zaw, an official from the
nearest medical clinic or hospital to receives one or two cases every month. These kinds receiving treatment here. Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC)
medical treatment. of patients are mostly from Yangon and “I took my mother to Singapore for medical representative here in Yangon. Most travel
Improved health standards are included Mandalay and use this service to Bangkok and checkup and she had checkups for her heart, to Malaysia for treatment in heart disease,
as most important sectors of a country and sometimes to Singapore,” said Dr. Theingi Win. kidney, liver, and also for diabetes and the In vitro fertilization (IVF), liver diseases and
for good healthcare system not only the The lowest rate of the air ambulance service total cost was about K700000 to K1000000 but Gastro intestinal illnesses. It is said that in
government is responsible but also the private can be aproximately about US$14500. If the the service was satisfactory. If the doctor finds Malaysia, the success of In vitro fertilization
healthcare sector which can play a vital role. patient uses this services two assistants for the a disease he explains what kind of treatment (IVF) is about 65 to 68percent.
Due to change of time and improvement patient, a medical team including a doctor and will be the best for the disease, what kind “In 2011, there were only about 5600
in systems, many high grade hospitals have a nurse will also accompany the patient for the of drugs should be given and what kind of Myanmar citizens who went to Malaysia for
opened up throughout the country, so patients journey. Then when the patient arrives to that precautions should be taken. He is also very medical treatment but it has increased and
have many choices for their healthcare. country the hospital arranges everything for the patient and answers all the questions that the now there are about 11000. The Malaysia
Then again as there are now services which patient to be admitted on time. patient and accompanying family members Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC) expects
provide assistance for medical treatment “There were also cases from the children’s would like to know.” said Ma Zarchi, who took that in the coming year there will be a rise
abroad, which has become popular among the hospital, which were transferred by this her mother to Singapore for medical checkup. of 30 to 40percent of patients to Malaysia.
privileged class to travel overseas for medical service. Then again there are patients who ”After being admitted to hospital, patients Each and every country has its own rules and
treatment. use this service for medical checkups for need not worry where or which department regulations concerning healthcare systems
Nowadays a lot of Myanmar people who can heart, bone, brain diseases and also for should they go for a checkup as staff so the expenses on medical treatment differ
afford travel to countries such as Thailand, nervous system. However some patients have personally take the patient to the concerned from one country to another. However, in
Singapore, Malaysia and India for medical to travel by this service on the advice of the department. There at that department Malaysia due to the strict rules for hospitals,
treatment. There are also representative doctor” said Dr. Theingi Win. patients don’t have to wait for its turn and charges cannot exceed than the limits
offices of those hospitals in Myanmar, so Most of the patients who have experienced there are also interpreters provided for prescribed by the Ministry of Health,” said Dr.
these offices provide all necessary assistance medical treatment in overseas hospitals say those who are unable to communicate in May Myat Zaw.
for a patient from Myanmar to travel to that the doctors pay special attention and discuss Thai or English language. Here the patient To have a medical checkup in Malaysia
particular country for medical treatment. in detail with the patient and if necessary, has to find the right department for the the lowest average rate can be US$100 and
The expense for treatment in hospitals of advanced medical equipment and special checkup and also have to bribe them. When it differs according to the package of the
those countries vary from one another as well devices are used when it comes to treatment, a patient inquires about something there checkup. For Cardiac surgery approximately
as expenses of package programmes differ so it is very satisfactory for the patient and is nobody to explain to the patient. That’s the rate will be US$10000 to 15000, for In vitro
depending on the treatment. However before the family members who accompany the why we decided to go overseas to have the fertilization (IVF) is from US$ 5000 to 6000,
travelling to a particular country for medical patient says some people who have take medical checkup,” said Ma Cho Cho, who Surgery for Spinal cord and nervous systems
treatment, the expenses for diagnosis of the medical treatment in foreign hospitals. went with her husband to Bangkok for a can cost about US$17000 to 19000 and for
disease, treatment, and all necessary services “There are so many different kinds of general checkup. thigh surgery can be from US$12000 to 13000.
provided by that hospital can be discussed advance medical equipment and devices “My husband and I went to Bangkok for Therefore, if somebody is planning to travel
thoroughly with the representative office and as there are only about ten to fifteen general checkup. As my age is over 50 the overseas to have medical treatment should first
before hand so as the patient and his family patients, the doctors can pay more attention total cost for the checkup was Baht19000 consult with the doctors from the hospital that
will have a clearer picture for the trip. These to explain about the disease to the patient and my husband who is over 40 the cost the patient has chosen. If that hospital has a
representative offices can arrange everything and the patient also has an advantage of was just over Baht15000. Being a promotion representative office in Myanmar it would be
for the patient to arrive comfortably to raising questions about the disease in detail, period, we got the checkup with a special very convenient for the patient and that office
that hospital for treatment. There are also “says Ko Phyo Thu who had the experience discount rate. The checkup took only about will explain the treatment and expense and
package programmes from just general check- of taking medical treatment in Malaysia. He half a day and soon after checkup the doctor whatever the patient would like to know,” said
ups to major operations. All these can be had to travel to Malaysia to have an operation explained the results. Both of us were each Dr. May Myat Zaw.
discussed before travelling to the hospital, in for sinusitis at the Sunway Hospital and the given about half an hour to consult with the As an old saying goes that prevention is
that particular country. total expanse for this operation was about doctor. Then within three to four days the better than cure, one should eat healthy
“Most of the patients from Myanmar travel to K2000000 in local currency he said. full set of results of the checkup was issued. meals, take daily exercises and live a healthy
Bangkok for medical treatment and some travel “I had to stay for a day in the hospital and However, if the patient is unable to stay for lifestyle so as to be strong and live a long and
to Singapore, Malaysia, and India. Some even after the operation had to see the doctor that period in Bangkok, can return here and happy life.
travel to western countries for treatment.” said again. During that one day stay in the get the full results from the representative Translation by Win Thaw Tar,
Dr. Theingi Win, business development director hospital, the hospital provided three means, office of that hospital, which is very Kyaw Soe Htet and Zaw Nyunt
8

Available at: No. 22, Pyay Road, Mayangone Tsp,
Yangon. Tel: 01-664363

Breakfast
Fingertip Oximeter

Lunch

Dinner

Available at:
Yee Shin Co., Ltd. Market Place by
Available at:
No. 25-26, Bogyoke Aung San Rd, City Mart
Bahosi Housing, Lanmadaw Tsp,
Yangon. Tel: 01-211915
9

Available at:

Sports Engineering
And Recreation Aisa
(Myanmar) Ltd.

Star City, Kyaik Khauk
Pagoda Road, Building
A-2, Wing-C, Unit# 57-
72, Thanlyin Township,
T3 treadmill with track E5 elliptical with track C3 upright bike with track G7 multi gym Yangon, Myanmar.
connect console connect console connect console www.searasports.com
Tel: 056 23224
USD 3664 USD 4944 USD 2596 USD 3795 Ext: 1303

HEALTH
SHOPPING
GUIDE
Baby Drops
Available at:

Grand Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.
Available at:
No. 15/19. Zawgyi St, Lanmadaw Tsp,
Yangon. Tel: 01-221997 No 28. Pyay Road, Hlaing Township,
Yangon. Tel: 09-73222365

No 296, A-12, Ayeyarwon Road, Thaketa Township,
Available at:
Yangon. Tel: 01-551591
10

It’s the birthright of
a child to receive full
vaccination
The Ministry of Health and Sports
conducts monthly immunization
programmes for people to be
vaccinated

MYINT KAY THI In Myanmar the government provides every are children from suburban areas that move they should get full coverage of immunization
individual child with ten types of vaccines around with their vagabond groups, according every time they are vaccinated, so that the

V
accination is an effective method to free of charge. Furthermore, the Ministry of to officials from the Ministry of Health and immunization can fully provide protection
keep an eye on the public’s health; Health and Sports is striving to include three Sports. against diseases, said Professor U Saw Win.
when a sufficiently large percentage new types of vaccines for diseases such as Professor U Saw Win, a pediatrician The National Vaccination Program which
of a population, whether an adult or a child Japanese encephalitis, diarrhea and cervix commented that “It is impossible for the is under the Ministry of Health and Sports,
has been vaccinated, they become protected cancer within a period of three years. maternal nurses to vaccinate the children of monthly perform the operations of the
from infectious diseases that occur regularly In regard to the whole country, parents who wander around. So, if these kinds immunization programme which is conducted
or occasionally. Therefore, every child should approximately 80 to 90 percent of the of people miss the process, it is their duty to by staffs from the health department and
complete the routine vaccination of childhood population is covered by vaccination. get to the nearest vaccination station to be people can also get vaccinated at government
on a normal schedule and by this way disease Although the vaccinated percentage of the vaccinated. I strongly advice these kind of clinics and hospitals.
and mortality rate of children in a nation, un- population can be seen as satisfactory, there parents to try their best so that their children Furthermore in an attempt that the
der the age of 5 can be significantly reduced, are still about10 to 20 percent of children will not miss this opportunity”. immunization programme covers all children
says health experts. who do not receive the full yearly vaccination “Being vaccinated is the birthright of and for those who have missed this routine
As polio vaccine was discovered, this scheme or losing the opportunity to be every child. Therefore, both the government operation, ninety eight hospitals with a
crippling and potentially deadly infectious vaccinated. and respective officials from the concerned total of 100-beds each, which are under the
disease was eradicated. Children who were The children who do not receive regular ministry are trying their best to fulfill this Ministry of Health and Sports have opened
vaccinated by this vaccine were protected vaccination can be categorized into two task. Vaccines are safe because they are up immunization centers around the country,
from polio and it was a further step of groups: The first group consists of children produced only after international tests. to ensure that the immunization programme
improvement regarding the children’s health from far-flung areas of the nation or places Every child should be fully entitled to every covers all children and to easily get vaccines.
condition. encountering conflicts and the second group vaccination provided by the government and The government’s immunization program

Vaccination process taking place at a school. Nurse preparing a vaccine.
11

Township health official collecting data for vaccination in a school. Photos: Naing Wynn Htoon

which is free of charge covers 10 types of Myanmar’s initial healthcare project. The of the public,” said Professor U Saw Win. Programme on Immunization (EPI) under the
vaccines; such as BCG, 5-in-1(diphtheria, Union Minister also added that vaccines are Centers have been opened where these Department of Public Health.
pertussis (whooping cough), tetanus, hepatitis the first healthcare service for newly born vaccines can be taken and also educational “I regularly vaccinate my children at the
B and encephalitis), polio, pneumonia, infants to stay healthy throughout their lives,” programme for parents regarding these ward dispensary. I take my children there
measles and rubella for children from infants “Vaccines will be effective only if they vaccines. We explain to the parents that there because doctors there vaccinate the required
to 18 months. are fully dosed. If they are not completely are ten types of vaccines being vaccinated to vaccines. If the children are sick, they suffer
“The government provides 10 types of vaccinated, the diseases cannot be prevented children. These vaccines not only cure deadly and on the parents side not only have to spend
vaccines free of charge with the assistance perfectly. Some vaccines cannot prevent the diseases but also make children grow healthy a lot but also have to worry,” said Daw Soe Soe
of international organizations. So parents disease with only one dose. It is not dangerous and intelligent, said Dr Htar Htar Linn. Htet, who is a mother of three children.
should not miss this great opportunity which if the vaccines are over limits. In some “In some cases there are children who To vaccinate ten types of vaccines to a child
is provided for their children,” said Professor developing countries, there are about 17 types are brought to hospital but have not taken cost about US$50. International organizations
Saw Win. of vaccines which are vaccinated to a child. any vaccination yet. Therefore, we have to such as GAVI and UNICEF are providing
During the launching ceremony of hospital- Myanmar is also now vaccinating about 10 vaccinate them when they reach here. The assistance for these vaccines. In the fiscal year
based immunization programme which was types of vaccines than other more than some services of hospitals are not only to cure 2016-2017 the cost for each child for these
held in May, Union Minister for Health and South East Asian countries. Vaccines can illnesses but also fulfill the needs of children. vaccines was US$6.7 and donors provided the
Sports Dr. Myint Htwe in his speech said that change the lives of people. They can cure the Therefore, we decided to open clinics where cost for the expenses.
immunization process is a basic foundation diseases and also for polio. Therefore, vaccines children could be vaccinated,” said Dr Htar Translation by Kyaw Soe Htet, Zar Zar Soe and
for universal healthcare coverage and are the most effective way for the healthcare Htar Lin, Deputy Director of Expanded Khine Thazin Han

Advertise in
monthly
special
supplement?
..........................................................

CALL: 392676
12

Organic
Organic fruits. Photo: Shutterstock

Organic food that play a
HEIN MIN LATT them. Some even worry about being snatched when they go Among the pesticides are the chemical pesticide, plant-
out at night times. So don’t these worries seem ridiculous?  pesticide and bio-pesticide. Only plant-pesticide and bio-

I
n our country, there are some people who live in constant Yes, each and every human being has the right to be worried pesticide should be used. Then again,chemical pesticides
fear. They worry about everything, no matter how unreal or be afraid about any matter. There is nothing wrong about can also be dangerous. 
the perceived threat seems to be.  being worried or being afraid.  Experts found that chemical pesticides can seriously
These people always fear about power outbreaks, water However there is one thing that people should really damage the consumers’ health and they have educated
shortage or even the rise in cost of living then there are some worry and fear. These are pesticides and other poisonous farmers and cultivators not to overuse pesticides. They also
who although have the own car, take a taxi to go about during chemicals used in growing fruit and vegetables that can be talked about the adverse effects of chemical pesticides.
raining season in fear that their car might break down on a in putting people at risk of developing cancer in their later life.   Some farmers and cultivators use chemical pesticides
flooded road.  There are also the soft drinks, which have become a part abundantly as they see these chemical pesticides can
Some even fear they might not get a space to park their car of the younger generation’s everyday life. Carbon dioxide is eradicate pests quickly.
so they place a stool or an object in front of their house or responsible for the tangy taste, sparkle and preservation of However these chemical pesticides can be absorbed in the
apartment just to reserve a parking spot for their vehicle.   the soft drink, but is a harmful substance which can cause fruits or vegetables that they grow and can cause danger
Some people fear a damaged power cable might fall on them severe cell damage in our body. to the human body once these contaminated fruits or
while walking in the street so they constantly look above, at According to scientists, chemical fertilizers reduce the vegetables are consumed.
the power lines.  soil’s beneficial organism population and interfere with the If large amount of chemical pesticide is consumed, it
There are some who worry they might fall in to the drain plant growth and these artificial fertilizers have been used will cause dizziness, headache, stomach ache and nausea.
and always look down while walking.  Still, there are others since early 18th century. Ammonia which was invented in Furthermore red rashes could occur on the skin and, in
who imagine that while they are walking on the road, a loaded Germany in 1920s adds nitrogen which can support plants some cases, could claim the lives of the consumer. Chemical
logging truck may spill the load of logs and crush on to to grow. Later on chemical pesticides were invented. pesticide consumed in small amount may not show
13

which will
overcome fear

vital role in our daily lives
symptoms but as the time goes by it can damage the nerve as checking food processing plants and factories in an disasters and bad weathers.
and respiratory system.  attempt to prevent these kinds of harmful foods from More importantly, organic planting does not use chemical
In recent years there have been rumours that chemical circulating in the markets. pesticides and fertilizers in growing vegetables and fruits.
pesticides and fertilizers are being excessively used Consumers are becoming more aware of these kinds Organic fruits may not have beautiful colours and may not
in growing vegetables and fruits.  There is also news of foods and they are paying more attention on organic be large in size, but they can give the real taste of a natural
spreading within the public that food producers are foods, which remove the dangers or at least the fear they fruit. They do not have chemical smell and they are safe for
using chemicals to make the colour of the fruits more are facing in their daily lives. consumers.
attractive. All kinds of foods produced by organic fertilizers do not In foreign countries shopping centers and super markets,
There are reports about food producers using Shellac pose dangers to consumers. Organic fertilizers are derived organic fruits are sold on separate counters. Also here in
on apples to restore the fruit’s natural wax and gives a from animal matter, animal excreta (manure), human Myanmar in super markets like Market Place, organic fruits
shiny coating; people preserving bean curd by soaking excreta, and vegetable matter, such as compost and crop are displayed on separate counters and their prices are usually
in Formalin; placing plastic water bottles in hot boiling residues. more expensive than other fruits. 
cooking oil and when the plastic is absorb in the oil,  Naturally occurring organic fertilizers include animal So people who live in compounds and have spare land can
potatoes are fried in this oil to make them more crispy.  wastes from meat processing, peat, manure, slurry, and plant their own organic fruits and grow organic vegetables
There were even reports that dyes are used not only in guano. Organic fertilizers have been used in agriculture for using natural fertilizer and natural insecticides.
shrimp paste but in producing dry prawns and pickled tea generations and its products are most safe for those who Just one last good advice to all who are health-conscious:
leaves to make their colour more attractive. consume it. make sure to consume organic fruits and vegetables which can
As so much news have emerged the concerned In organic planting, natural fertilizer and natural make you healthier and free from fear.
associations are also taking these reports seriously  and insecticides are used. Growing vegetables planting fruits are Translation by Win Thaw Tar and Khine Thazin Han
have begun to examine all the fresh produce as well carried out in a natural way so they are able to stand natural
14

How to live
a healthy
lifestyle
Although it may not be easy to
commit, healthy lifestyle is most
important for human’s life
WIN AUNG immediate desire that comes to his lifestyle. However, only by following
or her mind is to be like those who these rules it would not be enough

I
n a lifetime of human beings, are healthy or even give up all their to gain a healthy lifestyle.
health is the most important possessions to be healthy. In today’s fast changing world,
physical and mental condi- There is also the preaching by technology has become so advanced
tion which is happiness free from Lord Buddha regarding health where that there are TV games, Internet, Early morning exercise for elderly persons. Photos: The Myanmar Times
diseases and illnesses. However, as it says health is the greatest gift, cell phones etc… which most of
all human beings are not the same, contentment the greatest wealth, the younger generation especially become a healthy person for the instance people, who live in homes
the temperament also differs from faithfulness the best relationship. schooling age are addicted too. Not rest of their lives. with compounds, doing sports and
one another. Therefore, it is most important for only in our country but around the Every human being has so many even gardening at home, can make
If one may inquire which is most everybody to be knowledgeable to live world in each and every country, the things to do in their lives, maybe for a person healthy. However, city
important and prefer between a healthy life. People, young or old younger generation have become themselves or obligations in work dwellers living in apartments where
health and wealth, the prompt unnecessarily die every day due to so addicted that they spend many places and for matters relating to they are unable to do these kinds of
reply of the majority will be wealth lack of health knowledge. Therefore it hours a day on the Internet, playing family and friends. Therefore a activities, another option is trying
and only then comes health. plays a vital part in having a healthy TV games, chatting on cell phones healthy lifestyle may not be easy to going to the nearest gymnasium and
Right, although wealth is essential life. and giving too much of their time commit to. taking up exercise lessons.
in human life, obviously, health So what is this healthy lifestyle even shortening their resting hours. When a person is unable to fulfill Even then if that situation
is more important than wealth and why so important to us and how At the same time today’s these obligations, tension rises and does not permit due to financial
which is the same concept as mine. can we gain this greatest gift of life? younger generation are consuming becomes stressed which can hinder constraint, try to take a daily walk
Wealth cannot buy health despite Many believe, a healthy lifestyle unhealthy food which is dangerous a person’s health. When a person is for at least half an hour which is
having the ability to acquire the best implies looking good and feeling good. for their health in the long run. stressed he or she becomes fatigued the best ideal for people of all ages
medication in the world. One may Most people say that they want to be To make the matter even worse, and later on it affects the health. and fitness levels for those who
be wealthy but if health is affected healthy but do they really imply to there are alcohol, drugs which are That is why one should not stress for want to be more active. According
how can he or she be able to enjoy gain a healthy lifestyle? To become the most dangerous for a person’s each and every small matter or things to medical reports, regular brisk
the wealth possessed and all this a healthy person, it is important to health. that comes across his or her daily life. walking has shown to reduce risk
wealth will be no more significant to avoid smoking, drinking excessively, Nowadays, most of the teenagers Priority should be given to obligations of chronic illnesses, such as heart
their lives. avoid using drugs, and avoid eating to adults consume alcohol and and solved each at a time where disease, diabetes, asthma, stroke,
A person, whose health is affected, unhealthy food, to exercising drugs which can shorten their stress can be reduced. high blood pressure, osteoporosis
will not be able to enjoy the pleasures regularly and having a balance life span. When a child or adult Most people think that regular and even some kind of cancers.
of life like others. For instance, when weight. becomes addicted to one of these medical checkups are essential to One last advice to live a healthy
an unhealthy person sees people Then again a healthy diet also habits, they lose interest to take up have a healthy life. Yes, it might lifestyle is to have self-confidence
in good health enjoying life, the plays an important part in a healthy sports or exercise and will never be right for those who are wealthy which is extremely important in
and can afford to go to hospitals, almost every aspect of our lives.
especially to special clinics for If we look at our own lives
regular checkups. But that is only and those around us, we will see
for a few privileged. However not that in searching for happiness
everybody are in the same situation. we spend most of our time and
One may even argue that taking energy, our external conditions
medical checkup need to go to such as increasing our wealth
hospitals, special medical clinics and possessions, enhancing our
and consulting and receiving reputation and finding better
medical treatment from medical partners. Though we may succed in
practitioners but here the financial acquiring these external conditions,
matter comes in. we will never enjoy the lasting
So what should we do to become happiness that we desire if we don’t
healthy persons? That is why by have self confidence. Without self-
following the mentioned steps confidence, we will never be able
such as avoid smoking, drinking to avoid the evil doings which may
excessively, eating unhealthy affect our lives that will end up in
food, using drugs, which are most damaging our health.
dangerous for health, giving too So let’s practice this healthy
much time on the computer and lifestyle by staying away from
other modern gadgets, and trying unhealthy habits, avoiding
to avoid in stressing for every little unhealthy food, doing exercise
matter that comes across in daily life. regularly, having enough sleep,
But these steps are not sufficient to reducing stress, and last but not
make a person healthy. least having self confidence which
The best way to have a healthy will make us healthy and happy
Girls participate in health exercise on the banks of Kandawgyi lake. life is to exercise regularly. For throughout our lives.
15

Food
and
A layout of healthy and delicious home-made dishes. Photo: The Myanmar Times
vitamins
Consuming well-balanced healthy food provides
most vitamins a human body needs
WIN AUNG vegetables, carrots, pumpkin, squash, spinach, soya milk, which are also high in vitamin K.
milk products such as butter and cheese. Vitamin A, not only In the category of water-soluble vitamins there are Vitamin

C
hoosing foods each day that are rich in vitamins and prevents night blindness but also lower the mortality rate of B and Vitamin C. Vitamin B play important roles in cell
minerals is the best way your body is receiving what cancer. metabolism. There are eight types of vitamin Bs. B vitamins
needs to be healthy. Supplements can be beneficial, but Another fat-soluble vitamin is Vitamin D, which can be are particularly concentrated in meat such as turkey, tuna and
the key to vitamin and mineral success is by comsuming a obtained from fish, eggs, liver, mushrooms, cod liver oil, oily liver. Other sources for B vitamins include pulses or beans,
balanced diet. fish, fish roe, Sardine, Tilapia, Tuna , Cereals, Tofu, low fat whole grains, potatoes, bananas, chili, peppers, nutritional
Vitamins are organic compounds necessary for the healthy fruit yogurt, and various kinds of milks. Vitamin D increases yeast, brewer’s yeast, and molasses.
functioning of our bodies. We need vitamins to help us grow, intestinal absorption of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphate, Another water-soluble vitamin, which is Vitamin C is found
to make out bones, muscles, skin and organs strong as well as and zinc. Vitamin D can prevent heart disease, diabetes, in food and used as a dietary supplement. Vitamin C helps to
to protect from infections. Deficiencies in vitamins can become obesity, muscle weakness to name a few. repair and regenerate tissues, protect against heart disease,
serious problems to our bodies. The best way to receive Vitamin E can prevent cancer, heart diseases, eye disorder decrease bad cholesterol and common cold. Vitamin C is
enough vitamins for a normal growth and development comes and prevent or slow the decline of mental function such as important in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.
from the fresh foods that we consume daily. Alzheimer’s disease. A variety of foods such as vegetable oils As many fruits and vegetables contain vitamin C, it is
Vitamins are classified as either water-soluble or fat-soluble. like safflower oils and soybean oils, Nuts, such as peanuts, easy to obtain through foods. Apples, asparagus, berries,
In human beings, there are thirteen vitamins: four fat-soluble hazelnuts, and, almonds and seeds like sunflower seeds, green broccoli, cabbage, melon (cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon),
(A, D, E, and K) and nine water-soluble (eight B vitamins and vegetables, which are spinach and broccoli, fruits like mangoes cauliflower, citrus fruits (lemons, limes, oranges), kiwi,
vitamin C). Water-soluble vitamins dissolve easily in water and Papayas are also among the best sources of vitamin E. fortified foods (breads, grains, cereal), dark leafy greens (kale,
and, in general, are readily excreted from the body. Therefore, Vitamin K, which is also a fat-soluble vitamin helps to spinach),peppers (especially red bell peppers, which have
vitamin consumption can be indicated by urine output. Many prevent calcification of arteries which is one of the among the highest per-serving vitamin C content.
types of water-soluble vitamins are produced by bacteria. Fat- leading causes of heart attacks. It works by carrying However, if one consumes healthy and well-balanced food,
soluble vitamins are absorbed through the intestinal tract with calcium out of the arteries and not allowing it to form vitamins would not be necessary. A well-constructed diet
the help of fats. hard plaques within the arteries. It also increases the supplies not only provide the vitamins which are needed
The best way to get enough vitamins is to eat a balanced amount of protein required to maintain bone calcium, daily, but also other important non-nutrients that are lack in
diet with a variety of healthy foods. In some cases, one may reducing the risk of osteoporosis. vitamins.
need to take vitamin as supplements. However it should bear Vitamin K is also effective in reducing the risk of prostate, Therefore, it is possible to conclude that vitamins are really
in mind that sometimes high doses of vitamins can cause colon, stomach, nasal, and oral cancers. Vitamin K is found good, because they help us keep our body in shape providing it
health problems. plentiful in green vegetables such as spinach, swiss chard, with lacking elements but by consuming a balance diet we will
Vitamin A, from the fat-soluble category can be obtained lettuce, cabbage, kale, cauliflower, broccoli, and brussels be able to get sufficient amount of vitamins and minerals the
by consuming liver, fish, orange, ripe yellow fruits, leafy sprouts and some fruits such as avocado, kiwifruit and grapes, natural way.
16

Unknown mixed medicines still on demand
Although dangerous, unknown mixed medicines are still a common
source of healthcare among the grassroots
my advice. The main point is that we have to
educate the public and also control the people
selling compounded medicines. These are the
duties of the authority. We have to say is that
it is dangerous to take these medicines. They
come to us with a pack of medicines, which are
all compounded medicines,” said Dr Soe Naing
Win.
At the second regular meeting of the
first Pyithu Hluttaw, the Minister for Health
answered about the danger of compound
medicines and that they are prohibited.
According to the National Law section 16,
nobody is allowed to sell, store or distribute
medicines or raw materials without licenses
but due to the weakness of regular checks, the
situation still prevails.
The Health Department had issued notice
of not to take compounded medicines. For
example, in 2016, announcements were made
about the dangers of these medicines and to
avoid them. However, due to lack of knowledge,
most people in rural areas still depend on
compound medicines.
“Most of the people who come to me are
farmers. As they have worked in the fields all
day long, they use compounded medicines for
their stiff muscles and for arthritis of limbs and
swelling joints. They also use it in an attempt
to prevent from catching cough, cold, and
headache. As they cannot afford to have healthy
food, they take these medicines. They presume
An elderly lady preparing unknown mixed medicine for her ill family member. Photos: Aung Htay Hlaing that these medicines can provide them with all the
health they need. Most who are lack of knowledge
about medicines think that they look good when
KHIN SU WAI cold and cough, for temporary or long-term. too much time in clinics. It is also difficult to they are chubby and rely on these medicines to
Some combined medicines are branded as see a doctor as doctors are usually busy with gain apatite so as to gain weight. They take these

D
aw A Nge Lay said her elderly mother Myanmar traditional medicines and sold on the hospital duties,” resident Dr Soe Naing Win from medicines to cure swollen joints and from losing
has to take some unknown mixed market. Some are found to contain oral steroids Tagaung Township hospital branch told the appetite. Most of these kinds of people not only
medicines for common ailments. She in powder form. The combined medicines are Myanmar Times. take these medicines by themselves but also advice
added that these unidentified mixed medicines cost effective, easily available and are widely He remarked that during his residency in others to take them,” he said.
are usually taken to alleviate headache and flu used as most ill-informed people are reluctant rural areas, 5 out of 10 patients he treated were “When they have to see a doctor, the cost
symptoms as they are cheap, effective and eas- to go to the clinics or hospitals unless they have taking or had taken the mixed medicines. He is high and also have to listen to the doctor’s
ily available from local drugstores. some deadly disease. added that he had treated a 56 year old patient advice of the danger of these medicines.
“They are not to treat serious illness. If I feel The combined medicines alleviate symptoms from Lat Lote village in Depeyin Township of Therefore, to avoid all these, they rather depend
ill, I just take some mixed medicines sold in my of disease temporarily without addressing Sagaing District, who went blind by taking some on compounded medicines,” he said.
ward. The bad thing is I don’t know what types the underlying causes. Most people used the combined medicines for over a year believing “The compounded medicines are still in
of medicines are mixed together. I don’t even combined medicines because they think they that it would cure his knee pain. circulation and need time to be eradicated.
know if these medicines are expired or whether are cured as the symptoms disappear. “Due to the compounded medicines, the most Success can only come when the population
I am allergic to it. The good thing is I can buy “The combined medicines are very dangerous. common side effects are that the people suffer fully accepts the danger of these mixed
them easily,” she said. Although they are bad, people are still taking stiffness in the nape and their faces become medicines. Then again persuasion plays a vital
It has been more than a decade-long habit of them because they are cheap, easily bought, and puffy but they think they are getting fat due to a role to reduce the dangers of mixed medicines,
the people of Myanmar to take some unknown fast to relieve the symptoms. People are aware good rest. It is most common at my clinic. he said.
mixed medicines prescribed by small shop and that combined medicines are bad, but they still Therefore, I make them stop taking Translation by Swe Zin Moe
stores in the neighbourhood to treat common don’t want to see the doctors because of sparing compounded medicines. Some people oblige to and Khine Thazin Han