September 25, 2017

Health insurance a real shot in the arm for improvement of health conditions

  • Tha Sein
  • Most recently, a national health insurance system that includes effective implementation of universal health coverage, providing timely health care services to all including the poor was high on the agenda at the Parliament.
    In that regard, Union Minister for Health and Sports Dr Myint Htwe said to the Parliament that there was no law yet that provided work-site safety for health personnel at work, and that steps were being taken to promptly enact a law that guaranteed work-site safety for medical personnel including health assistants and midwives. The minister added that priority was being given to the appointment of required specialists, but that there was a need to simultaneously purchase and install supporting medical equipment.
    Because of the pitiful amount of money the successive governments had historically spent on healthcare, the country continues to struggle with basic problems related to healthcare services. Some medical professionals are facing a heavy workload as many hospitals are understaffed and underequipped. If the problem of understaffing persists, it will lead to a brain drain as more medical personnel leave for the better resources and pay on offer at private hospitals. The number of medical personnel should be in line with the number of patients.
    It is safe to say that the country’s healthcare services have not kept pace with those of its neighbors. Poor people will eventually suffer because they would not get good basic health services from the government so long as the country is deprived of universal health coverage.
    Against the backdrop of these many pressing needs, a clear set of priorities on how to spend limited government resources will be necessary to ensure that the healthcare system is sustainable.
    The concept of free medical service for all is theoretically perfect. However, the financial losses of state hospitals raise the question of whether solvent patients should pay for service to help hospital stay financially afloat and be able to help needy patients. The government is well aware of the need to significantly increase spending on the country’s healthcare system, which is now a matter for debate.
    Although the health conditions in the country have been improving in the time of the new administration, there is a lack of facilities and healthcare professionals. A new attempt to introduce a health insurance is a real shot in the arm for further improvement of the conditions.


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