Both the rate of infection and the death toll have risen in Yangon Region since the beginning of the second wave of COVID-19. The Ministry of Health and Sports is implementing plans to prevent the spread of the disease and to provide healthcare services to the people in full swing.
Here’s an interview with Deputy Director-General for the Public Health and Medical Services Dr Tun Myint, and Yangon General Hospital Superintendent Dr Myint Myint Aye. They are working for the COVID-19 disease prevention, treatment and control in the Yangon Region.
Dr Tun Myint
Yangon Region Public Health and Medical Services Department
Question: Some deaths in COVID-19 cases unreasonably occurred as the patients in serious conditions were just taken to the hospitals after they failed in treatments in their own ways. Regarding this, how would you like to urge the public to come to the hospital if infected?
Answer: It’s very important for the patients to receive sufficient treatment and hospitals have prepared for adequate treatment. Patients are only aware of the critical situation due to the delay at home. They came late to the hospital, and later they were dead. In this situation, the hospitals are fully prepared. Since the whole world is facing COVID-19 disease, including Myanmar, we are taking a step-by-step approach to these experiences. In doing so, we keep a close eye on the situation in countries around the world that were hit hard by the first wave of COVID-19. For this, we have prepared things in our country.
The Union Minister for Health and Sports has repeatedly warned the public not to be negligent as the Ministry is aware of the growing number of COVID-19 infections. Symptoms of COVID-19 have also been made public. If someone has any of the symptoms of COVID-19, they need to go to the nearest health centre and seek timely treatment. The purpose of this treatment is to reduce the number of deaths due to the late hospitalization.
Getting home treatment may hinder sufficient treatment, and if it is delayed, our treatment will not be up to standard. So, the key to getting quality treatment is not to treat at home.
For those who are treated at home, we find it very difficult to save lives when the disease is severe. The patient also suffers more from pain. In the end, the family suffered a great loss.
Instead of getting home treatment, people should report to the hospital, and the public health department when any suspected symptom was found as the health departments already have a plan to provide healthcare.
Plans have been made since the first case of COVID-19 patient in Myanmar on 23 March. People should not receive home treatment, and instead, they should report any illnesses to the health department. With just a phone call, the mechanism will be able to provide healthcare to the patient in a convenient and smooth manner.
Question: What is your opinion on allowing a caregiver to the COVID-19 positive patient?
Answer: In fact, it should not be possible for a positive patient to be together with a negative person. It is contagious from the positive patient to the negative one at any time and can cause sudden death if infected with COVID-19.
During the time of treatment, current symptoms like shortness of breath and Oxygen falls can occur. After recovery,
chronic heart disease and chronic lung disease will happen in the future.
Another is mental. Once infected, there are many psychological traumas. Because of these, it should not be allowed to let someone care closely near the patient. However, there is a situation toenable to do so. Those who can stay at the hospital as caregivers are relatives and close friends. They can take care of the patients who are in their dotage, children, autistic people, people with visually-impaired and hearing loss. This is allowed as an exception as these people need a caregiver. Under the circumstances, young children cannot be a caregiver. We will allow the people of ages between 18 and 45 who are in good health as caregivers.
Patients needed to be in the ICU must be supervised by a local anesthesiologist. Hospitals also have management committees. These committees have to decide. Appropriate patient care must be provided.
Such decisions must be submitted to the most recent committee meeting for approval in case of emergency.
Question: How many people are infected with COVID-19 in Yangon Region and how many treatment centres have been set up?
Answer: There are over 50,000 positive patients in Yangon Region. Of these, more than 1,400 died. Having more than 50,000 positive patients in Yangon Region is more than 80% of all cases of COVID-19 in Myanmar. For this, treatment centres have to be expanded. Firstly, Waibarggi Hospital and later South Okkalapa Hospital were prepared as treatment centres. When it was not sufficient, Phaunggyi COVID-19 centre was open. There are altogether 17 treatment centres arranged by the Ministry of Health and Sports in Yangon. Also, Tatmadaw has arranged 7 treatment centres, including the Tatmadaw Liver Specialist Hospital, so totally, there are 24 centres.
There are also upgrades done in district and township hospitals for the treatment. The Government has provided the necessary budget for that, too. Arrangements are being made in order to alleviate the public’s anxiety of hospitals being overcrowded during the treatment. There is no need for the people to worry. We will take good care of it.