Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and Lower House speaker Thura Shwe Mann discussed plans to upgrade Yangon General Hospital, Myanmar's largest, with former United Kingdom health minister Lord Ara Darzi yesterday.
The hospital’s medical superintendent, Dr Kyaw Kyaw, said talks focused on the 1,500-bed hospital’s renovation plans as well as wider public-health concerns. Darzi is a healthcare expert.
Tin Myo Win, a member of a fundraising committee for the hospital’s renovation, said discussions focused on practical steps that could be taken to upgrade the century-old hospital.
The meeting follows a high-profile fundraising event last weekend during which Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) party said it had raised 400 million kyats (Bt13.1 million) for the hospital’s renovation. This included large donations from business tycoons like Zaw Zaw of Max Myanmar.
Suu Kyi said Yangon General Hospital remained the best in the country and its renovation would raise the standard of healthcare and set a benchmark for other hospitals.
Suu Kyi submitted a proposal to Parliament to form a committee of officials, parliamentarians, professionals and donors for upgrading Yangon General Hospital last November and was subsequently appointed chair of the committee.
The NLD’s health network has also urged Myanmar doctors working overseas to return for a few months a year to train staff here. A lack of doctors and medical serves in rural areas is a major problem, she said. Suu Kyi said her 14-member health network will send qualified doctors to rural areas and try to provide medicine and services to rural people.
It is more important to arrange basic housing for doctors and medical staff in rural areas than it is to build a new hospital, she said.
Suu Kyi has said health and education are priorities for Myanmar and has sought private contributions to fund expansion of health and educational services. The Nobel Peace Laureate has raised eyebrows by accepting donations from cronies of the junta.