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January 19, 2020

The restrictions will be relaxed for the diaspora of Myanmar-born doctors: Dr. Myint Htwe

Union Minister Dr Myint Htwe. Photo MNA
Union Minister Dr Myint Htwe. Photo MNA

During the seventh-day meeting of the Second Pyithu Hluttaw’s 14th regular session yesterday, the Union Minister for Health and Sports answered to a question raised by MP Dr Than Win of North Okkalapa constituency on whether there are plans to reduce restrictions of Myanmar-born doctors who have received the status of Permanent Resident (P.R.) in the country.

Speaker: Dr Than Win of North Okkalapa constituency will raise his question.
Dr Than Win: Honorable Speaker of the Pyithu Hluttaw, I am Dr Than Win of North Okkalapa Constituency. Mr Speaker, between the years 1990 to 2010, ethnic medical specialists from Myanmar had to go work in foreign countries due to various reasons. This was a brain drain and loss to our nation.
But after the emergence of a government elected by the people and the reformation of parliaments, these ethnic medical specialists have decided to return to Myanmar and share their valuable experiences and capabilities with the doctors and people here. They have applied for and already received permanent residency.
Permanent residents in ASEAN nations such as Thailand and Singapore, European nations, America and Australia and others are granted the same full rights as other citizens, but not including the right to contest in elections or the right to vote.
Mr Speaker, Myanmar-born medical specialists who have P.R. status have to pay license fees among others but are restricted as to what medical field they may practice, where and when. This is causing many difficulties to the medical specialists who are willing to share their valuable experience and skills and, in addition, hampers other Myanmar-born ethnic medical specialists from returning to the country.
Mr Speaker, my question is whether there are any plans to reduce the restrictions Myanmar-born ethnic medical specialists with P.R. status face, in the same way it is done in other countries. I respectfully raise my question through the honorable Speaker. Thank you.

Speaker: The Ministry of Health and Sports will be answering.
Dr Myint Htwe (Union Minister for Health and Sports): Honorable Speaker of the Pyithu Hluttaw and Hluttaw representatives. I will be answering to the question raised by Pyithu Hluttaw representative Dr Than Win of North Okkalapa Constituency, Yangon Region.
What the Hluttaw representative said is correct in some ways. Thus, I will answer as to whether there are plans to relax the restrictions Myanmar-born ethnic medical specialists with P.R. status face, in the same way it is done in other countries.
There are two types that come to our country. The first group consists of medical professionals who are citizens of other nations, such as American citizens and UK citizens. The second group are Myanmar citizens or American citizens. When they come to offer medical treatment, surgeries or training courses in line with the processes of the Ministry of Health and Sports, it is all free of charge.
However, if they come to stay at a private hospital for one, two or three months, then we can see fees being collected. There is a reason for collecting this small amount. We don’t know if all the medical specialists who come here are actually skillful or not over there. We scrutinize everything to see if they are genuinely skilled, up to their Good Standing Certificate.
The reason for this is to ensure the public is able to enjoy qualified and effective healthcare assistance, as enacted in Chapter II, Section 3-a of the Myanmar Medical Council Law, to continually maintain the medical knowledge, quality of healthcare and standards of medical professionals, to enable medical education can be researched and taught in line with modern times, and so on.
We have to evaluate them based on these premises, whether they have genuine skills, calibre quality, and observe their Good Standing Certificate. But when we look back, what the Hluttaw representative said is true.
We collect K600,000 per month if the doctor is a foreign citizen, such as American or UK citizen. I have discussed this matter with the Chairman of the Medical Council. We will absolutely reduce this. Why? The Medical Council is not a council that seeks income. It does not need to do so as it is a council for maintaining the rules, ethics and everything else concerned with medical professionals.
That is why the matter of K600,000 cannot be dealt in detail here. We already have plans to make numerous reductions. We collect K300,000 for medical specialists returning to Myanmar but identify as foreign citizens. We have also discussed to reduce this as well.
We have discussed to reduce this as soon as possible. Furthermore, what is happening now is that three month’s worth of fees are immediately collected upon arrival. If a doctor only stays for two weeks or even one day, they have to pay K300,000. This is actually not very good.
So, what we mean is we will collect only per month. If they come for a month, then they only have to pay a month’s fees. We will collect a month’s worth of fees in the least. We won’t collect in weeks, only in months. One month’s fees for a month, two month’s if it’s two, and three month’s if it’s three. We have discussed this.
We are trying to make it the most we can. If not, my report on this matter is, I have been instructed by higher officials. Attract the diaspora group of doctors from abroad. To do it.
Just as the Hluttaw representative said, if they come then we will acquire the latest technology and treatment methods from foreign nations. And they will be able to teach our doctors, doctors-in-training and medical students. If they conduct workshops then there will be a lot for us. Only then will we know what is occurring around the world. Hence, the duty of attracting them to come here is ours. We have decided to make this happen the most.
This is because, there are three organizations for doctors in New York, Baltimore and L.A. if we go to America. They are large organizations and all three make the same complaints on these matters to them. They say it is too much and request to reduce it. They say they have to pay three months’ fees even if they come for just one month, two days or a week.
In reality, this shouldn’t be collected. Thus, we will make sure to do it precisely and I answer the question raised by Hluttaw representative Dr Than Win through the honorable Pyithu Hluttaw Speaker. Thank you, everyone.
Speaker: Esteemed Hluttaw representatives, the question raised by Dr Than Win of North Okkalapa constituency is beneficial to the nation. Therefore, as the question raised and the answer given are beneficial to the citizens of this nation in line with the 2013 Pyithu Hluttaw Bylaw 130, it is announced to the Hluttaw that it will be organized for the matter to be issued in the national gazette and displayed in the pages of the state-owned newspapers. (Translated by Pen Dali)

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