Govt to Spend Record 3 Billion Kyats on Medical Research Next Fiscal Year

By San Yamin Aung 21 June 2019

YANGON—The Myanmar government plans to increase the budget for medical research to 3 billion kyats (US$1.97 million) in the upcoming fiscal year, the highest amount ever allocated to research funding in the country’s history.

Health and Sports Minister U Myint Htwe said the ministry requested 3 billion kyats to fund medical research in its proposed budget for fiscal 2019-20 at a meeting with the ministry’s Institutional Review Board on Wednesday.

In fiscal 2016-17, only 14 million kyats were allocated for research, the minister said.

An official from the Department of Medical Research said the ministry has been increasing its funding for researchers from the ministry’s departments, hospitals and medical and medical-related universities since 2017 with the aim of promoting a culture of research.

According to the department, under the current government the ministry has been allocated medical research budgets of 1.1 billion kyats in fiscal 2017-18; 500 million kyats for the six-month transitional fiscal period from April to September 2018 (the government introduced a new October-September fiscal period starting with fiscal 2018-19); and 1.5 billion kyats in fiscal 2018-19.

“The minister issued instructions to prioritize [the selection] of research proposals that will directly benefit healthcare for the general public,” the official said.

He said the ministry is working to utilize research findings and turn them into health policies after analyzing the research papers.

At the Myanmar Health Research Congress in January, Health Minister U Myint Htwe said the health research sector is the basic foundation for increasing the capacity and effectiveness of the national health care system.

During the congress, he urged researchers to focus on the ordering and distribution of medicines and medical instruments and equipment; diseases and illnesses that occur in the country, including determining the rate of occurrence in the states and regions; medical human resources requirements, mobilization and allocation; management and administrative systems of the ministry; treatment of patients at hospitals including speed and ease of diagnosis and treatment; management of patients in emergency wards; and management of the ministry’s financial and human resources.

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