Message from the Union Minister to staff of the Ministry of Health and Sports, Myanmar: 1 October 2019


• It is my pleasure to convey a friendly message to all of you in anticipation for working together cohesively as a closely knitted team during the forthcoming budget year 2019-2020.

• I wish the best of luck, happiness and healthy life to each of you and your family members.

• I appreciate the good works carried out by all of you since 1 April 2016.

• As I mentioned in my 1 April 2016 speech to all staff of MoHS, we will continue to provide quality public health and medical care services to the population as per the available human resource for health, budget allocated by the government together with funding and technical support from development partners, like-minded stakeholders, UN agencies, bilateral entities, INGOs, local NGOs and health institutions outside the country.

• During the last three years, we all worked as a team to put many programs on track and are on our way towards achieving UHC by 2030, while attaining some of the Sustainable Development Goals. Complete attainment of all Sustainable Development Goals is close to impossible given the fact that we have limited resources in terms of human resource and funding. However, we will try our utmost best to achieve these in the coming months.

• Having said that, we have set the path for improvement of performance in public health as well as in clinical domain. I would like to mention that if public health interventions are appropriate, systematic, realistic and reasonable, commonly occurring diseases will never ever happened or the incidence of many diseases will be reduced. This can lead to less number of patients coming to our hospitals, either as out-patients or in-patients. We can, therefore, render quality health care to the patients. Let alone the saving of millions of kyats as we do not need to do laboratory investigations, radio-imaging procedures, dispensing medicines, etc... The surplus funds emanated out of this scenario can be used to procure state-of-the-art diagnostic and treatment equipment and to help render quality health care services to the population.

• During the last three and one-half years, we have formulated several strategies and interventions for different health care programs. We have conducted capacity building workshops, review meetings, assessment missions, annual evaluation workshops, panel discussions, symposia, innovative activities, research studies, e government related works, national and world commemorative days, special technical presentations, supervisory visits to states and regions, disease outbreak investigations and containment, disaster management works, hands-on training in several clinical disciplines, in addition to development of standard operating procedures, guidelines, and algorithms in clinical and public health domains. It is unbelievable that you have carried out such a huge number of important activities to the benefit of our population at large.

• Professionals, management and administrative staff working in various hospitals as well as basic health professionals working at the grass root level did excellent works in spite of several challenges and constraints. This is marvelous. I deeply appreciate your services given to the community. However, we are fully aware of the fact that that there is still room for improvement.

• Through various modus operandi, we are promoting good clinical ethics, public health ethics, nursing and midwifery ethics, and research ethics.

• Since 1 April 2016, as part of capacity building of our staff, the MoHS had sent staff outside the country to attend meetings, symposia, conferences and workshops ( 5700 ), training courses under six months (1321 ), training courses above six months (280), master degrees (98) and doctoral degrees (59), covering a wide spectrum of disciplines. (1 April 2016 to 30 September 2019)

• It is high time that we need to look back and take stock of the extent of the work done. The unfinished agenda must be completed to the extent possible preferably before the end of the tenure of the government on 31 March 2021. The senior management will give undivided attention to it.

• In addition to ongoing activities, some of the priority activities that would be given attention by the MoHS for the coming one and one-half years are (i) promoting patient safety at health institutions, (ii) expanding health promoting school programs (seven activities as directed by the State Counsellor and nine routinely carried out school health activities, (iii) initiating quality teaching at sixteen medical and health universities and fifty nursing and midwifery schools in addition to capacity building for faculty members, (4) promoting health literacy level of the population through the use of tablet phones, (5) utilizing the services of basic health service professionals effectively and efficiently, (6) preventing and controlling non-communicable diseases together with initiation of preventive cardiology programs, (7) strengthening the Central Epidemiology Unit together with improvement in epidemiological and critical thinking skill of staff, (8) promoting research culture and conducting implementation research to improve program performance, management and administrative challenges together with utilization of research findings, (9) building capacity for members of Institutional Review Boards while enhancing research training programs, (10) improving analytical skills of staff to work on available data at various levels of the health care delivery system with the objective of giving proper feedback to lower and upper level as well as for evidence-based decision making, (11) making health information system dynamic and responsive, (12) strengthening sentinel surveillance system for communicable diseases, noncommunicable diseases and conditions, (13) improving performance of hospitals from various perspectives, (14) conducting capacity building for clinical and paraclinical staff working in hospitals, (15) completing housing complexes of health staff in time, (16) providing necessary diagnostic, radio-imaging, physiotherapy and surgical equipment required in hospitals together with fund allocation for preventive maintenance, (17) improving logistical perspectives in hospitals, including enabling working and teaching environment, (18) making the most out of using the tablet phones from clinical and public health perspectives.

• We will carefully review our supply chain management system as part of the work of MoHS together with rational allocation and utilization of budget. Resource flow analysis will be conducted. We have been losing millions of kyats because of weak supply chain management system. Procurement of supplies and equipment will be streamlined and fine-tuned not only to save money but also right medicines will be available in time at the right place and less amount of medicines are expired in health institutions.

• We will also assess our NHP (2017-2021) implementation as a matter of priority. All the WHO collaborative program activities should be linked to NHP. Appropriate adjustment and modification will be made as necessary.

• We should take note of the important role played by basic health service professionals for promoting public health domain and population health.

• “Exercise is Medicine” program will be augmented and expanded by working closely and collaboratively with State and Regional governments and Women Sports Federation.

• We should not lose sight of the fact that teaching of medical students will be starting using “integrated curriculum for 2020 intake of medical students. We need to closely monitor and make adjustment as and when necessary.

• For overall improvement in clinical domain and performance of hospitals, we have formed clinical groups for different disciplines. We will consider their proposed ideas and considered views.

• National Health Policy will be reformulated during the latter part of this year and we expect to complete it before the first half of 2020.

• All research activities will be geared towards the principle and direction as mentioned in our National Health Research Policy. Here, intensified collaboration of Department of Medical Research with Departments of Medical Services, Public Health, Human Resource for Health, Food and Drug Administration, Traditional Medicine, and Sports and Physical Education will be encouraged.

• More delegation of authorities will be given to State/Regional Directors, Medical Superintendents of big hospitals.

• The works of Department of Food and Drug and Administration and International Relations Division will be streamlined and fine-tuned so that processing time for various procedures can be shortened.

• Review of performance of UHCs, RHCs and SCs will be continued and appropriate improvements will be made.

• The number of meetings and workshops to be conducted will be drastically reduced. Instead, we will give more time for implementation and review of our works. We need to review the recommendations made at several meetings, workshops and evaluation meetings and take actions on the priority recommendations made.

• The Department of Human Resource for Health will continue to work as per the Myanmar Human Resource for Health Strategies (2018-2021) spelled out without fail. The works of Medical Education units of various universities under MoHS will be further scrutinized with the aim of promoting proactive role to be played by them to improve overall medical education system.

• The Department of Food and Drug Administration is currently reviewing its works in terms of increasing the efficiency and reducing the processing time taken for various application. Safety of street foods in collaboration with concerned departments will be our aim for the coming months.

• The Department of Traditional Medicine will continue to streamline its work while giving special attention to promote various scholastic activities of the University of Traditional Medicine together with capacity building activities for faculty members. We will pay serious attention to the advice of Technical Advisory Group on Traditional Medicine in the coming months. Research on traditional medicine as well as clinical research on traditional medicine drugs will be promoted.

• Effective and efficient utilization of funding coming in from outside partners will be carefully monitored. Rational allocation of funds will also be made as much as possible.

• Application of electronic modalities on many disciplines will be practiced such as conduct of paperless workshops and meetings, electronic in-house memos in MoHS, etc. will be the order of the day.

• We have concluded 75 Memoranda of Understanding and Letters of Agreement with health institutions outside the country and 80 INGO are working in collaboration with MoHS.

• For 2019-2020, we got a total budget of 1018 billion Kyats from the government. We will use the allotted budget in the most effective and efficient manner.

• If there is a sense of ownership by individual staff, we can be highly successful in achieving the overall objectives and goal of MoHS.

• It is encouraged that more supervisory visits must be made by Deputy Directors-General with the spirit of partnership and collaboration.

• Let us think innovative ideas aloud and start afresh, and do effective, practical and realistic activities for improving population health!

Thank you.
Dr. Myint Htwe

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