Outlook and opinion of doctors that treated DM patients at Wachet Jivitadana Sangha Hospital in Sagaing Hills

Wachet Jivitadana Sangha Hospital — Credit goes to Wachet Facebook

In the last week of July 2014, I had visited the Facebook of Wachet Jivitadana Sangha Hospital (WJSH) in Sagaing Hills and saw the hopeful and heartening announcement for the marginalized and poor patients suffering from Diabetes Mellitus (DM).

The announcement was as follows:-

UK based social charity organization named “Brighter Future Foundation” (BFF) is visiting Wachet Jivitadana Sangha Hospitals in Sagaing Hills to offer treatment to all DM patients from 5 to 9 August 2014. All DM patients in the areas and elsewhere in the country are asked to register themselves in advance as the “BFF” team and Myanmar senior physicians will treat the patients free of charge. The message clearly stated that the modern laboratory test for urine and blood namely urea, creatinine, electrolytes, fasting lipid profiles, Hb A C, urine 10 parameter will be offered free of cost in addition to complementary medicines as prescribed by senior physicians. With a view to saving time in accommodating more number of patients to see the senior physicians, the people are requested to register in advance to check some basic medical condition such as blood sugar level and clinical test with a nominal registration fees of kyat 2,000 only from 21 to 31 July 2014. They are requested to bring in the medicine (if any) that they have been taking at the time so that adjustment could be made as necessary.

As I am interested in the works of Good Samaritans and saviors in the health sector, I sought some information from the Medical

Superintendent Dr. U Win Kyaing of the Wachet Jivitadana Sangha Hospital in Sagaing Hills.

According to his reply, as prepared by Accountant Miss Aye Khaing Moe, it started with the philanthropic conversation between senior physician Dr. Daw Thinn Thinn Hlaing of Cambridge University Hospital and Italian surgeon Dr. Robin Chan, who grew up in Myanmar, in 2013. He Studied at Faculty of Medicine, University of Padua, Italy.

The Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (CUH) is one of the United Kingdom’s NHS Foundation Trusts. The Trust provides healthcare for people in the Cambridge area, in southeast England and specialist services such as transplantation, treatment of rare cancers and neurological intensive care for a much wider area. It runs Addenbrooke’s Hospital and the Rosie Hospital. It is one of the Shelford Group an informal organization of ten leading English University Teaching Hospitals and part of the Cambridge Biomedical Campus.

They talked about the philanthropic schedules at WJSH in Sagaing Hills. Subsequently, Dr. Robin introduced Dr. Daw Thinn Thinn Hlaing with MS Dr. U Win Kyaing and a plan to treat the DM patients was drafted. Kyaswa religious resort Sayadaw Dr. Lakkhana in Sagaing Hills, the founder of the hospital, had accorded approval on the proposed plan. (Unfortunately, when the project was actually realized in August, Sayadaw passed away on 4 June 2014).

According to the plan, the expenses incurred for the laboratory tests were borne by the Brighter Future Foundation. It was agreed to pull down the cost as much as possible. The prevailing cost for the fasting lipid profile, urea, creatinine, and electrolytes stands out at kyat 16,000 at the private laboratory and it was fixed at kyat 8,000 only. The BFF had shouldered the cost on behalf of the patients. Total of 260 patients enjoyed the benefits of the laboratory charges.

Before the medical treatment by the physicians, the patients were asked to respond and give answers on the DM. It was done with a view to assess and evaluate the existing awareness and knowledge of the patients towards the DM.

After the initial and basic clinical examination by the local doctors and staff of the WJSH, the patients were systematically grouped for the dates of consultation to avoid long waiting time. The medical treatments for the patients by the senior physicians were slotted in two sessions such as morning and afternoon. Total of (260) patients was slotted into (4) days from 5 to 8 August 2013.

Average examination and consultation time was stretched into (20) minutes for each patient, which could be termed as adequate space. Monks and nuns were accorded with free of charge. The marginalized, vulnerable and poor patients were charged with minimal amount of cash, with the testimonial of local ward / village elders.

Awareness raising and knowledge dissemination were conducted by the senior physicians for the patients and interested persons between 12:00 noon and 1:00 pm at the hall of the hospital during the project period.

Moreover, the guest team deployed the expensive apparatus of HbA, C Analyzer which is worth about Pound sterling 4,000 {equivalent approximately Myanmar kyat 6.4 million}. This test costs Myanmar kyat 13,000 at the private laboratory for one patient. Urine test was done with strip test. The patients were complimented with medicine for one week free of charge which was worth Myanmar kyat 30,000 and above for each patient.

The patients gathered round the rally of medical treatment were from various areas such as Mandalay, Myinmu, Taunggyi, Pakokku, Myingyan, Salingyi, Magway and even from Yangon, the former capital of the country.

The eye ailment of patients related with the diabetes mellitus were examined and treated by ophthalmologist from the UK.

The visiting medical team was constituted with the following physicians and doctors.

  1. Professor Daw Than Than Aye, Retired Physician, University of Medicine-2, Yangon.
  2. Professor U Nyunt Thein, Retired Physician, University of Medicine-1, Yangon.
  3. Professor U Ko Ko, Consultant Physician, University of Medicine-2, Yangon.
  4. Dr. Moe Wint Aung, Consultant Physician, University of Medicine-2, Yangon.
  5. Dr. Khin Swe Myint, Consultant Endocrinologist, Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital, NHS Foundation Trust, UK.
  6. Dr. Nyi Nyi Pe, General Practitioner, UK.
  7. Dr. Thinn Thinn Hlaing, Chemical Pathologist & Metabolic Physician, Cambridge University Hospital, NHS Foundation Trust, UK.
  8. Dr Khet Khet Myo, Ophthalmologist, Bromfield Hospital. Chelmsford, UK.
  9. Two PhD students, one GP doctor, and five junior doctors from Yangon.

Attitude, opinion and stance of the senior doctors towards the philanthropic works have been spelt out by the senior physicians as follows.
Objective, purpose and goal of the project outlined by the senior physicians treating DM project were as follows.

Dr. Daw Khin Swe Myint, Chairperson of the Brighter Future Foundation of UK, Consultant endocrinologist.

  1. The chairperson is of the view and objective to enhance and uplift the standard of health standard in Myanmar. She is desirous in awareness raising and capacity building for the medical students and health care workers.
  2. She is eager to enhance the health awareness of the general public, and that was one of the reasons in the founding and establishment of Brighter Future Foundation.
  3. WJSH in Sagaing Hills is a venue equipped with appropriate facilities much suitable and convenient for projected field treatment for short term duration.

Dr. Daw Thin Thin Hlaing from UK

The senior physician was of the opinion that she has specific purpose to work voluntary medical treatment with the back drop of rising DM patients. She spelt out that DM patients are rising across the globe and that Myanmar is not an exception. However, she was of the view that the general population in the country has very less knowledge over the DM compounded with the lack of modern methods of treatment. Under the circumstances, the Brighter Future Foundation has chalked out a plan to offer a comprehensive package of medical treatment to the patients at the WJSH in Sagaing Hills.
She candidly unveiled that the host WJSH had warmly welcomed the visiting team, enabling them to work out in the treatment, thus gaining meritorious deeds. She wowed and promised to come again to the WJSH as the host doctors and health workers extended the fullest cooperation.

Dr. Daw Moe Wint Aung.

  1. All the doctors are desirous and have committed to address and solve the health problem of the public. The government has laid down a policy which the Ministry of Health has to shoulder the prevention (treatment) sector as the main trust of the policy to be carried out as the field work. Such treatment in the nature of field project is already getting used to the Department of Health.
  2. Since the field treatment project at the WJSH is in the pattern of secondary health center, the health care offered during the project period is highly beneficial. The momentum in the care of the patients has never slowed down, instead it accelerating into sustainable caring. In other words, the project is well equipped with the required conditions such as the perfect blood test, adequate drug supply, sufficient doctors to attend the patients, and the best part of the project is the supervision of senior physicians, who avail themselves on Sunday. She said that paying attention to the patients and disseminating health knowledge was most beneficial.
  3. The visiting field doctors were accorded with food, accommodation and transport, including local tours to the neighborhood. The plan fulfilled the satisfaction of the guest doctors.
  4. The visiting doctors have adequate time not only in treating the patients, but also imparting them with health knowledge. Therefore, the guest doctors gain merits in the religious aspect. That is one of the reasons that the doctors joined the visiting team in offering free medical treatment to the patients.

Professor Dr. U Nyunt Thein (Retired Head of Department, Medical Education Department, University of Medicine, Yangon.
The Professor joined the UK based Brighter Future Foundation in the medical treatment trip to the WJSH in Sagaing Hills to treat the DM patients and disseminate health knowledge to the local population. He joined the BFF in person as he has impression on the noble attitude of the BFF.

On 7 and 8 of August, he met with patients who are suffering DM, but without any knowledge on the illness. They have no idea what points to follow and which behaviors and food that they must avoid. The patients are not aware on the ways and means to control the blood sugar. The professor said that he was glad and honored to have the opportunity to offer treatment, provide health care and impart health education to the vulnerable people at the WJSH.

He noticed that most of the patients are poor and could not afford to take regular medical treatment on their DM. The poor scenario was that the patients are taking Myanmar traditional medicine at will without proper instruction and guidance on dosage. As the main staple food is rice, it is difficult for the patients to reduce the intake of rice in their daily meals, prompting the team to give lecture on the knowledge of food intake.

After the lectures, the attendees could catch up and understand the social life style, food intake and diet, the regular drug compliance and the necessary physical exercise. They are equipped with the basic knowledge on the supplementary complication of the illness DM.
The professor explained that due to the limited time space and limited facility, the team could offer medical treatment to only (270) patients, (10) persons more than the original schedule. He and his team intend to offer medical treatment to patient double the number in their next visit to WJSH. With a view to fulfill this aim and goal for the next visit, he reminded to his team the Brighter Future Foundation and the WJSH to be prepared in treating more number of patients.

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