Petition Campaign Underway Against Private Hospital Project in Rangoon

By Kyaw Phyo Tha 18 February 2016

RANGOON — A petition campaign is underway to push the government to halt a US$70 million international hospital project being built on land owned by the Ministry of Health near Rangoon General Hospital.

IHH Healthcare Berhad, through its “indirect wholly-owned subsidiary,” Parkway Healthcare Indo-China Pte Ltd, broke ground for the 250-bed hospital in Rangoon on January 24, the company said in a statement released on the same day.

On Tuesday, the project attracted criticism from medical professionals and students of the Black Ribbon Campaign for Myanmar, a movement begun last year to protest against the appointment of military officers to positions within the Ministry of Health.

Dr Alinka, the leader of the movement, told The Irrawaddy that the group is against the project as the site had been designated as an extension of the public Rangoon General Hospital. The group opposes the establishment of a private hospital on government land.

“The site should [host] something that belongs to the public, [such as] a public hospital or an academic training center for medicine,” she said.

The site of the new hospital, Parkway Yangon, is on Bogyoke Aung San road in downtown Rangoon, a 4.3 acre plot of land leased for 50 years, with the option of two 10-year extensions, according to the IHH Healthcare statement.

The project is a joint venture comprising Parkway Healthcare Indo-China Pte. Ltd. with a

52 percent stake, Singapore’s Macondray Holdings Pte Ltd with 10.5 percent, and local partners AMMK Medicare Company Limited and Global Star Company Limited with 21.5 percent and 16 percent respectively.

The statement said the project has been approved by the Myanmar Investment Commission and is due for completion in 2020.

Dr Alinka said the Black Ribbon movement is continuing to gather signatures from medical professionals in solidarity against the project, which they will submit to the government.

“We are not against private hospitals,” she explained. “But most of the people here are relying on RGH [the Rangoon General Hospital] for health care. The government should prioritize this. There are many other places in Rangoon they could allow private hospitals.”

IHH Healthcare Berhad was contacted for comment on Wednesday evening but had not replied at time of publication.

San Kyaw Oo, another doctor who is against the development, said the site should be used for public interests given its proximity to government medical facilities like Rangoon General Hospital, the University of Medicine (1), the Nursing Institute and the University of Public Health.

“It should be a place either for a medical training center or an extension of the RGH. Many people here can’t afford a private hospital,” he said. “If you care about your interests only, other people will suffer.”