“People take key roles in struggling against COVID-19”, said State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi during the video conference yesterday from the Presidential Palace in Nay Pyi Taw with Sagaing Region government’s Social Affairs Minister Dr Zaw Win, Medical Superintendent of the 300-bedded General Hospital in Kalay Township Dr Aung Myo Win , and Dr Myint Myint Thein, Vice-Chairperson of the Myanmar Medical Practitioners Association , Monywa office.
After introductory remarks by the State Counsellor, Dr Aung Myo Win gave a short briefing about prevention and treatment of COVID-19 disease, the readiness of places for positive patients, the formation of medical treatment units, training for preventive measures, training for better mental behaviours of the staff, transport arrangements for patients, medicines and medical supplies, active participation of local people, civil service personnel and civil service organizations, health conditions of positive patients, future plans, and requirements for land and building facilities.
Dr Myint Myint Thein presented about public concern regarding the COVID-19 disease, employment and livelihood difficulties, difficulties being faced in other vaccination programmes and requirements, and the role of CSOs and the need to give them systematic training.
Social Affairs Minister Dr Zaw Win talked about a loan programme for SMEs to reduce economic impacts on them, reopening of factories after inspections, monitoring being carried out to ensure that factories were following health guidelines, the conduct of awareness campaigns, acceptance of returnees from foreign countries, conducting systematic health tests, keeping them in the quarantine centres systematically, and sending them back to the respective townships.
The State Counsellor said that necessary instructions have already been given to make preparations for diseases that occur with the onset of the monsoon season; programmes for children’s vaccination should be considered for the whole country; since it was not known how long the COVID-19 disease would last, it would be necessary to enhance the people’s endurance; that it was important to give mutual encouragement and collaborate; to give immediate reports if there were problems and requirements, that the Ministry of Health and Sports was ready to assist, support, coordinate as needed. She then explained about the plans of the Union Government to fulfil the requirements.
In her concluding remarks, the State Counsellor expressed thanks to all and the volunteers who have been helping with goodwill and that their efforts provided much strength for the government; COVID-19 is a disease that needed the cooperation of all the people, and that she had already stated that people were the key; that government members, public service personnel, CSOs and common people were “the people”; if everyone performed his or her duty, there would not be any problem; if everyone did their duty, no matter how big the challenge COVID-19 might be, no matter how hard the struggle might be, this challenge could be overcome.
The State Counsellor further added she took the diligent performance of duty very seriously; that in life it was not possible to be free from duty; everyone would have to live with duty till their last breath; self-interest and the interest of others must be considered; making sure that the COVID-19 disease is not transmitted to another person is in a way also protecting oneself; if your neighbourhood were infected, it would also be a great danger for yourself; that was why it was impossible to differentiate whether you were doing it for yourself or for others; that was why it was important for all to work for the interest of everyone; with regard to COVID-19, it was all for one and one for all.
She said she wished to remind everyone that some people who had COVID infection did not show any symptoms; because they did not exhibit any symptoms they thought that they were normal, their neighbours also thought that they were normal; as a result, they felt quite safe and thus were reluctant to wear face masks and practice social distancing; one cannot know just by looking at a person; some people have recovered from the infection without having symptoms; therefore it was very important to be very cautious about the disease; and awareness campaigns are needed repeatedly, especially for wearing a face mask to develop into a habit like wearing shoes whenever going outside the homes.
Some people cannot afford to buy single-use facemask and that it is encouraged to make homemade cotton masks in line with the guidelines of Ministry of Health and Sports; it was very practical for the grassroots people.; that was why the wearing of face masks should be encouraged as much as possible; many ways should be found to make the people want to wear masks; it was difficult to follow social distancing in the long term; Myanmar was not well developed enough like other countries to hold meetings through video conferencing and internet for all matters; in many situations, there was still a need to work in close proximity with each other; and that these issues needed to be overcome gradually.
Protecting yourself is not only for yourself but also for the protection of your surroundings; protecting others also means protecting yourself; if we proceeded with that understanding in mind, we would be able to overcome the COVID-19 disease; however, there needs to be endurance, calmness, and diligent efforts.
She ended by sending good wishes for the good health and happiness of all the citizens and for successfully overcoming the COVID-19 challenge with collective strength.—MNA (Translated by Aung Khin and Kyaw Myaing)