BBHC 2016 Report

BBHC 2016 Report

Since our last report, the most exciting and talked about historical event occurred in Myanmar: A landslide win by the National League for Democracy during Myanmar’s first free election last year. The 2015 election result is quite a crucial moment in Myanmar that moves every citizen toward positive change. Well-trained Myanmar doctors are now in a better position to shape the country’s brighter healthcare future. We believe Better Burmese Health Care’s work is an indispensable part of this positive change and will make this vision happen.

Since 2011, the Myanmar Ministry of Health has started to rehabilitate the fragile health system. The challenges it faces are substantial. The most significant challenge probably is equitably and effectively allocating limited healthcare resources. Lack of reliable health insurance system and the tight health budget force most people to rely on out-of-pocket financing which is among the highest globally (81% of Myanmar’s total health expenditures) according to the most recent article in “The Lancet “ titled “Disparities in health and health care in Myanmar”.
An earlier article in the Lancet described Myanmar to be among the top 10 countries with diabetes-related tuberculosis (TB). While diabetes is non-communicable it causes immunodeficiency in patients increasing their vulnerability to contracting communicable diseases. The Lancet study also highlights the growing impact of Diabetes on TB control in the endemic regions of the world including Myanmar.
It’s been well-recognized for some time that there is a rapid increase in the incidence of type 2 diabetes in low and middle-income countries. Despite this knowledge, international and local healthcare organizations in Myanmar have been slow to adopt measures to combat the epidemic.
BBHC therefore is proud to report that we are filling in the gap and be at the forefront of tackling Type 2 diabetes in Yangon, Myanmar. BBHC’s primary focus is on non-communicable diseases mainly diabetes and hypertension (high blood pressure). BBHC is also making an impact on communicable diseases such as TB by proxy through addressing diabetes. Treating diabetes and hypertension is a challenging and complex task due to low health literacy and poverty since it is caused not only by genetic factors but also lifestyle choices. (Rice, which is a staple diet in Myanmar, is also high on the glycemic index and ngapi, another staple food, which is fish paste with high sodium content consumed widely with rice, contributing lifestyle factors in diabetes and hypertension respectively.)
Our clinics therefore have incorporated group education about diet, physical activity, mindfulness and well being. At our clinics, the doctors take patient histories, conduct physical examinations, perform lab analysis, provide medical consultations and provide medicines for up to 28 days at affordable prices. We also give our patients guidance on appropriate dosage and daily medicine regimen and ensure compliance. Our fees range from 500 – 4,000 Kyats including cost of medications for up to 28 days. We provide free services for those who can’t afford any payment. **Average earning of a day laborer is 5,000 Kyats per day. ***1 US$ = 1,100 Kyats
BBHC has 2 daily evening clinics and 5 monthly clinics run by 23 paid staff members.

BBHC is also making a positive impact by educating young medical professionals who fully understand BBHC’s vision of empowering local talent to create long term self-sustaining system of healthcare for the local community.  Our doctors are enthusiastic and eager to participate in a local medical practice that adheres to international standards. Our rigorous guidelines also take account of local requirements for the management of diabetes, hypertension, asthma and other common non-communicable diseases. These guidelines are reviewed and updated as necessary. BBHC also believes in close supervision by senior staff, self-learning and continuing education through interaction between more experienced doctors and their younger colleagues, including engagements with senior doctors visiting Myanmar from abroad.

BBHC is happy to announce that the scholarship program has entered its 4th year. We have sent 3 lucky BBHC staff doctors to attend the prestigious American College of Physicians’ annual conference and the chance to be an observer in a community hospital in the USA. This program proves to be immensely successful in empowering young local doctors by providing them exposure to the wider world. We believe this program will not only help them access new information and experiences but also motivate them to improve themselves and become well-rounded physicians.

And here’s what they have to say about their experience:

Dr. Win Than Naing

Dr. Win Than Naing
ACP/BBHC scholar 2013
Assistant Surgeon
Third year Masters Degree student, Psychiatry (Mental Health)
Mental Health Hospital, Yangon

Dr. Ei Thuzar Aung

“Whenever I look back, my experience as an ACP scholar was invaluable. It is a scholarship program which enables young doctors to gain international experience but for me, it was a lot more than that. I gained knowledge, experience and most importantly, courage, allowing me to move forward and aim for higher professional goals. It certainly fulfills one of the main aims of BBHC which is to empower the local talents ultimately aiming for attainment of better health status for Myanmar people. Of course, that is what BBHC, Better Burmese Health Care, stands for.”
Dr. Ei Thuzar Aung*
ACP/BBHC scholar 2014
Specialist Registrar
Diabetes and Endocrinology department,
Royal Infirmary
Edinburgh, UK

*Dr. Ei Thuzar Aung is currently in the UK participating in the Medical Training Initiative, which is a training program that provides junior doctors from all over the world with the opportunity to work and train in the UK, while giving the UK hospitals a high quality, longer-term alternative to using locums to address shortage of junior level doctors. She intends to return to Myanmar after the 24 month training.

Dr. Nyan May Kyi

 “In summary, ACP 2015 was more than perfect especially in its educational aspects.  Knowledge filled in my brain from all corners which could transform my way of thinking in treating patients and practicing medicine. Last but not the least, this year ACP marked a milestone in my professional life and served as a motivational tool to continue my career pathway confidently and to step up globally. I am very confident that I will carry all the good attitudes, bedside manners and critical thinking throughout my professional life.”
Dr. Nyan May Kyi
ACP/BBHC scholar 2015
Resident Medical Officer
Pun Hlaing Siloam Hospital

These doctors will become the leaders of the new generation of doctors who will transform the system from within.

  BBHC continues to provide valuable services under challenging circumstances. We are doing our part in addressing non-communicable diseases which represent some of the rapidly increasing yet most neglected health problems.  Your continued support is vital in improving the lives of many through BBHC’s healthcare and education services. We sincerely would like to thank individuals and organizations (Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation) for your generous donations and grants that make our work possible.
This year, your donation can provide:
10,000 Kyats (9 US$) – one month supply of diabetic medications
7,000 Kyats (6.50 US$) – one month supply of blood pressure medications
19,000 Kyats (17 US$) – one month supply of asthma medications
12,000 Kyats (11 US$) – HbA1C Blood test for assessing diabetic control
26,000 Kyats (23.50 US$) – Echocardiogram
8,000 Kyats (7 US$) – Ultrasonography
23,000 Kyats (20 US$) – one day’s (Sunday monthly clinic) salary of a senior BBHC doctor
7,000 Kyats (6 US$) – one day’s (Sunday monthly clinic) salary of an entry level junior BBHC doctor
50,000 Kyats (45 US$) – one month clinic rental

2014 – 53,273,967 Kyats  (48,430 US$)
2015 – 63,498,035 Kyats (57,725 US$)

Number of patient visits
2014 – 9,915 (6,337 at daily clinics & 3,578 at monthly clinics)
2015 – 8,807 (5,162 at daily clinics & 3,645 at monthly clinics)