Public Hospitals: The Heart of Healthcare

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Union Minister for Health Dr Thet Khaing Win encourages the patient who received a kidney transplant at the Yangon Speciality Hospital (500-bed) on 2 September 2023 PHOTO: GNLM/FILE

By Dr Zeyar Win

 

A hospital is a facility where sick individuals receive medical care from trained healthcare professionals using specialized equipment. Hospitals are a significant component of health service delivery. Public hospitals play substantial roles in providing healthcare services to the people.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), access to quality healthcare is a fundamental human right. It is the responsibility of governments to lead efforts in providing public healthcare services that meet recognized principles within their respective nations.
Either developed nations possessing ample resources and infrastructure or developing countries facing limitations must prioritize the establishment of public healthcare systems that align with their respective socioeconomic contexts and geographic positions.
The Ministry of Health, Myanmar, is actively pursuing the objectives by facilitating access for every citizen to achieve their full life expectancy in addition to experiencing a prolonged lifespan and ensuring that every citizen enjoys freedom from diseases and illnesses.
In pursuit of these goals, efforts are directed towards disease prevention, well-timed delivery of treatment upon disease occurrence, and the formulation of effective policies and measures tailored to the country’s available resources.
Since Myanmar gained independence, consecutive governments have assumed responsibility for public healthcare, navigating challenges of limitations on medical school establishment, hospital/clinic construction, and procurement of essential medical equipment.
However, numerous challenges persist, particularly concerning health infrastructure and human resources distribution across regions. Although the imbalance in population-based medical coverage has remained to be fulfilled, the Ministry is prompting continuous efforts to mitigate these discrepancies.
It is crucial for public hospitals to maintain consistent delivery of medical services to the community. Furthermore, it is imperative for the government to ensure continuous provision of healthcare services in areas where public healthcare facilities are the sole option available.
Following events from 1 February 2021, efforts have been undertaken to restore normal operations in public hospitals, which had faced potential suspension of services.
Initially, hospital administration and staff have been adequately equipped, ensuring effective governance and necessary support. Consequently, public hospitals swiftly resumed regular operations, delivering medical care without significant delays.
The Ministry of Health has reestablished hospital management committees and support committees in every public hospital, targeting to modernize healthcare services and enhance hospital operations.
Likewise, all public hospitals are equipped to cater to emergency cases round-the-clock, ensuring continuous access to medications, diagnostics, and treatments. This initiative aims to minimize out-of-pocket expenses for patients, thereby alleviating the financial burdens associated with healthcare.
The Ministry of Health has commenced concerted efforts to guarantee the timely provision of specialized medical treatment by convening coordinated meetings with specialists and administrative officials.
It has endorsed the instant restoration of specialized medical interventions, including cancer radiation therapies, cardiovascular treatments, brain and neurological treatments, as well as liver and kidney disease treatments.
Cancer radiation therapy is currently being administered at Yangon General Hospital, Mandalay General Hospital, Nay Pyi Taw General Hospital, and Sao San Tun General Hospital of Taung Gyi, thereby ensuring access to radiation treatment for cancer patients.
Moreover, kidney transplant procedures, halted since February 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, have resumed at the Yangon Specialty Hospital (500-bed) as of 29 November 2022. These procedures are now performed regularly. Additionally, complimentary repair procedures for cleft lip palate patients and corneal transplantations are also being offered.
The Ministry of Health is currently organizing the provision of super speciality medical care for residents living in districts, states and regions. This initiative involves despatching groups of specialists from Yangon, Mandalay, and other cities to such regions on a regular basis to administer comprehensive and targeted medical care.
The Ministry of Health is dedicated to enhancing public healthcare and medical services, targeting to address the needs and shortcomings of public hospitals in caring for patients. Constant actions are ongoing to leverage medical care provision, with a focus on fulfilling safer treatments to broaden health coverage and minimize out-of-pocket expenses for patients more equitably.

 

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