Lower House Approves Urgent Proposal on H1N1 Outbreak

By Htet Naing Zaw 28 July 2017

NAYPYITAW — The Lower House approved an urgent proposal on Friday to control an outbreak of H1N1 influenza that has killed six out of 30 confirmed cases in Myanmar.

Lower House MP U Thein Htun of the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) submitted the proposal to boost awareness of H1N1—often referred to as swine flu—in schools, markets, factories, workshops, trains, buses, jetties, and airports in order to reduce the death rate and spread of the disease.

The lawmaker said there was not enough education about the disease, adding that some people died from H1N1 because they were admitted to the hospital too late.

On Thursday, a 24-year-old pregnant woman suspected of having H1N1 flu was admitted to a hospital in Naypyitaw, Dr. Aung Lin Aye, deputy superintendent of the hospital, told The Irrawaddy. Medical tests for the woman have been submitted to the National Health Laboratory in Yangon.

USDP lawmaker U Thein Htun said the government must stand by its slogan “Together with the People,” noting that ministries, lawmakers, civil society, Red Cross, fire service and ward administrations need to collaborate.

Dr. Saw Naing, Lower House lawmaker of the ruling National League for Democracy (NLD), welcomed U Thein Htun’s proposal.

“Raising awareness is good. Only if the public knows clearly how to protect themselves can they prevent [the disease spreading] in advance, including which mask they should use and how they should use it. And if there is a shortage of masks, the government has the duty to arrange for more,” Dr. Saw Naing said.

U Thein Htun urged for checks of the disease at docks and airports, as has been done in neighboring India, he said, where 12,460 cases have been confirmed and 600 have killed so far in 2017.

The health ministry on Wednesday requested the World Health Organization (WHO) to help control the virus.