November 15, 2019
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Thailand and Myanmar join hands to combat diseases

Myanmar and Thai health ministers have signed an MOU on September 19 to combat and check the spread of contagious diseases along the Thai-Myanmar border.

Win Naing, Director of Karen state Health Department under the Ministry of Health, told Mizzima that the MOU was signed in Mandalay.
“The two countries will provide training to health workers in border areas. When Myanmar patients receive medical treatment in Thailand prescriptions are written in Thai, not English. So the patients face difficulties later in Myanmar. The joint effort will address such problems”, he said.

The two health ministries will target the most contagious diseases in the border areas such as tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, and malaria. They will also combat the spread of dengue and solve drug resistance problems.
On September 16 and 17, Myanmar and Thai health ministry officials and the Director of Karen state Health Department had discussions in Mae Sot, on plans to combat contagious diseases. Thailand will focus on plans to combat contagious diseases in economic zones within the area.
For a long time, the two countries have kept track of patients suffering from contagious diseases in the border areas, and if such a person crosses the border, they hand over medical profile of the patient to one another.
According to the Karen state Health Department, the outbreak of tuberculosis in Thai-Myanmar border areas is very serious, HIV cases are normal, and the outbreak of malaria affected a small number of people.
In the Karen state, about 400 people are found to have drug resistant problems added Win Naing.

Karen state Social Affairs Minister Chit Hlaing said, “In the past, pharmaceutical companies from countries such as England and France gave new drugs to patients living in the Thai-Myanmar border areas as pharmaceutical tests. There were many patients who died. At the time, the area was unstable, so pharmaceutical companies did not have to obtain permission. Since then, some people have had drug resistance problems.”

For the 2013-2014 fiscal year, the Myanmar Health Ministry was allocated a budget of MMK 120 billion. The Karen state has received a budget of MMK 1.3 billion to purchase medicines. The Karen state Health Department has already invited tenders for a total value of MMK650 million.

Win Naing said, “Providing medical treatment costs about $40 per patient. But, the whole country has to share the budget of about MMK 120 billion and it is not enough.”
The Karen state Health Department and the Back Pack Health Workers Group have jointly provided midwifery training.

In March, ethnic minorities’ health organizations along the Thai-Myanmar border, Karen state Health Department and a border-area health organization jointly organized a forum on health-care systems in Mae Sot.

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