MoHS, UNOPS discuss signing agreement for TB, HIV/syphilis, malaria cares in Myanmar

Union Minister Dr Myint Htwe takes part in the online Myanmar healthcare discussion with UNOPS.  Photo: MNA

The Ministry of Health and Sports and the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) yesterday afternoon organized a virtual meeting on matters related to signing an agreement (2021-2023) for TB, HIV/syphilis, and malaria cares in Myanmar and matters related to purchasing medicines and medical accessories for COVID-19 response efforts of the ministry, via videoconferencing. The agreement for TB, HIV/syphilis, and malaria cares will be funded through the Global Fund.
During the virtual meeting, Union Minister for Health and Sports Dr Myint Htwe expressed thanks to UNOPS for helping the ministry in purchasing medicines and medical supplies for COVID-19 response efforts by using the fund provided by UN and other international organizations. He said that the ministry is efficiently using the fund, medicines and medical accessories. He continued that hospitals in Yangon Region now have ‘medical supplies management dashboard’ in order to fulfil the needs in the hospitals.
He urged medical supplies purchasing and distribution experts of UNOPS and the experts of the Ministry of Health and Sports to jointly review the ministry’s current medical supplies purchasing and distribution system in order to improve it.
He highlighted the need to avoid lack of supportive care and lack of medicines for patients with TB, HIV/syphilis, and malaria, and other patients amidst COVID-19 pandemic. Otherwise, death rates of the three diseases may be higher, so the ministry has done necessary preparations, according to the Union Minister. He said that the help of UNOPS in purchasing 87 medicines and medical accessories for COVID-19 response efforts is very useful. He requested the UNOPS officials to help the ministry quickly get 95 ICU Ventilators.
UNOPS Yangon Office Programme Director Dr Attila Molnar said that USD$7.1 million, previously approved by the Global Fund, was allowed to be spent for COVID-19 response efforts of the ministry, and the Global Fund approved $18 million as C19RM support. He also discussed UNOPS’s preparation for Global Fund’s support (2021-2023) and the plan to sign the Global Fund’s Agreement in December this year. He said that he feels glad to cooperate with the ministry in prevention, control and treatment of COVID-19. He called on Myanmar officials to allow the transport of medical supplies from one area to another across the nation despite COVID-19 related travel restrictions.
He said that using Antigen Test Kits in COVID-19 control efforts in Myanmar is appropriate, and if Myanmar wants to buy more Antigen Test Kits by spending the remaining fund, UNOPS will help Myanmar buy them. He also stressed that Myanmar has made impressive progress in the fight against TB, HIV/syphilis, and malaria.
Union Minister Dr Myint Htwe said that COVID-19 response efforts need to be taken in real-time, so the ministry and UNOPS need to hold virtual meetings via video conferencing at least once a month. He pledged that his ministry will cooperate with other relevant ministries to facilitate efficient transport of medical supplies from one area to another in Myanmar. He said that the ministry had already increased the budget for the Department of Medical Services to buy medicines and accessories to K300 billion this year. Similarly, the ministry increased the budget for the Department of Public Health to buy medicines and medical accessories. He concluded that the Deputy Director-General (Disease Control) and other relevant officials will make detailed discussions and negotiations to prepare for signing the Global Fund Agreement in December this year.—MNA (Translated by Maung Maung Swe)

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