(Continued from yesterday )
A PRESS conference took place in Nay Pyi Taw on Friday in connection with the government’s commitment to its 100-day plan.
Health Union Minister Dr Myint Htwe and officials responded to queries regarding the 80 fatalities and the virus control plan in the Naga self-administered area earlier this month.
Following a report of 13 deaths in three villages in Nanyun township on 3 August, the ministry opened a medical centre in Lahal where 15 patients were found presenting with measles symptoms and nine other patients with measles-like symptoms.
The health authorities had the blood samples of 10 patients from Htankhawlamar village tested at the National Health Laboratory in Yangon, with the results showing that seven of them had come down with measles.
Treatment was given to 148 patients under 18 years of age and 35 others over 18 years of age in Nanyun.
According to health officials, 15,054 children were immunised against measles during the house-to-house visits conducted by 18 vaccination teams under the supervision of 15 infectious disease specialists to screen patients suspected of the infectious virus. Their efforts attracted 1,596 patients to the healthcare centres.
Underdevelopment and food scarcity are a major cause of nutritional deprivation, which makes villagers, especially children, less resistant to the disease, health workers said, adding that they went on medical tours of the difficult-to-reach locations.
Health authorities blamed dialect barriers, difficult access and high motorcycle rents for the epidemic of measles in the region, stressing that health workers had to build access routes to the villages. According to them, there has been no more outbreaks in the affected villages. The immunisation programme has covered over 85% of the region, with plans under way to continue the administration of 10 vaccines at the start of the cold season.
In connection with queries regarding the cost-effective health plans, the officials of the ministry responded that the closures of pharmaceutical shops in hospitals presented problems. Coordination is going on to reopen the shops, where medical supplies will be sold at a 10% profit.
In response to the question of the abortion issue, the authorities said abortion is illegal in the country, but permissible for women with life-threatening cases.
There are 1,132 hospitals under the Health Department, which is planning to employ nearly 2,000 medical doctors. Health authorities admitted the some of the hospitals were overloaded with patients and as a result the health staff were overtaxed.
According to a health official, women turn to abortion when they are at their wit’s end with their unwanted pregnancies, which the official said was largely due to lack of knowledge of when to take contraceptive pills.
The officials also spoke of the ministry’s measures against health risks posed by roadside food stalls, stressing its plans to conduct awareness campaigns for public health under the supervision of the Food and Drug Administration.
Regarding the doctors who graduated abroad, the health officials said they need to take an examination to win a medical practitioner licence from the Myanmar Medical Council so as to practise medicine in the country. Reconsideration is under way for cases of Myanmar doctors trained overseas who wish to practise medicine in the country, officials added.
In response to the question of injections, the officials said medical staff certified by the Myanmar Medical Council can legally give various injections. The certified medical staff include assistant health officers, nurses and midwives. Regarding the budget allotments, the ministry uses K850 billion on health sector and K19 billion on sports.
Director General U Tint Thwin of the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism responded to the queries of the ministry’s arrangements for the development of ecotourism, saying that the ministry would disseminate the information of the country’s landscapes and natural scenic spots across the various broadcasting channels. He also spoke of participation in travel shows in other countries to promote the country’s tourism industry.
He pointed out the need for training programmes to ensure quality services in terms of accommodation, hospitality, food and itinerary, calling for cooperation among the departments concerned.
In response to a query about the installation of a lift in the ministry’s office, the director general said the life was installed at an estimated cost of US$30,000 donated by the Myanmar Tourism Federation. The facility would be listed as the state-owned property or ministry-owned property.
Asked about the continued operation of the Yoe Yoe Lay hotel at the Kyaik Htee Yoe pagoda, U Tint Thwin said the operating licence of the hotel had been revoked for its unauthorised extensions. The official pledged to push the hotel to obey the order.
Regarding the possible impact the earthquake might have on tourist arrivals in Bagan, the official responded that the disaster would not have a dramatic effect on the number of tourists visiting the country’s cultural site. The Asian Development Bank has planned an offer of a US$45m grant in aid to the development of the tourism industry after 2018, he added.
In connection with the official teaching of ethnic dialects to children in ethnic areas, U L Tu Mein Gaung of the Ministry of Ethnic Affairs responded that his ministry was still young and was having some difficulties with budget and staff issues. He spoke of challenges in the use of ethnic dialects, stressing the need for ethnic children to learn the Myanmar language to be able to mix with the other national races in the union as Myanmar is the most common language used in the country.
A clause in the constitution encourages the use, development and promotion of the dialect, literature, arts and culture of the ethnic groups.
(Continued from yesterday )