Health as­sis­tants want changes to the sys­tem

The Myanmar Times - - News - PYAE THET PHYO pyae­thet­phyo@mm­

HEALTH as­sis­tants want more op­por­tu­ni­ties for pro­mo­tion, bet­ter ed­u­ca­tion and a new name, the Blue Rib­bon cam­paign com­mit­tee an­nounced at an event in Nay Pyi Taw’s Sky Palace ho­tel on Au­gust 13 and 14.

Health as­sis­tants work­ing in vil­lages can pre­scribe medicine and pro­vide health ed­u­ca­tion. When some­one gets very sick, health as­sis­tants di­rect them to the ap­pro­pri­ate doc­tor or hos­pi­tal.

Health as­sis­tants would like to be ad­dressed as “pub­lic health of­fi­cers”, com­mit­tee mem­bers said at the event. They want more trans­par­ent and spe­cific poli­cies sur­round­ing the trans­fer of health as­sis­tants.

And as soon as pos­si­ble, they want the gov­ern­ment to en­act rules that pro­tect pub­lic health work­ers, and they would like ac­cess to post­grad­u­a­tion cour­ses.

The com­mit­tee’s chair, U Aung Cho, said their de­mands will be sent to Union Min­is­ter for Health and Sport U Myint Htwe.

“After the sub­mis­sion of the out­come of this meet­ing, we will ne­go­ti­ate,” he said.

Ko Tun Myo Aung, who is par­tic­i­pat­ing in the cam­paign, said the com­mit­tee was not bring­ing up new ideas but was fo­cus­ing on things that needed to be ad­dressed.

“We health as­sis­tants have tried to pro­vide the best ser­vice we could,” he said. “But we did not get the op­por­tu­ni­ties we de­served be­cause of bad man­age­ment.”

Myan­mar’s healthcare ser­vice was ranked 190th in the world last year, ac­cord­ing to a re­port from the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion.

“We are wag­ing the cam­paign not be­cause we want to get an of­fi­cial post in our de­part­ment, but be­cause we want to see changes there,” said Ko Tun Myo Aung.

When they tried to ad­dress prob­lems within the sys­tem, bu­reau­cracy and bad man­age­ment put a stop to progress, he said.

“We are not given the rights to make de­ci­sions,” he said. Health as­sis­tant

“But those who can make de­ci­sions never take re­spon­si­bil­ity. And there is no trans­parency in the de­ci­sion­mak­ing. If some­one com­plains about these is­sues, they are per­se­cuted for it.”

Health as­sis­tants face threats from su­per­vi­sors when they try to im­prove the sys­tem, Ko Tun Myo Aung said.

“When some­one points out the er­rors of a su­per­vi­sor, they are pun­ished,” he said. “For ex­am­ple, they are trans­ferred from our de­part­ment to an­other de­part­ment or or­dered to work in a re­mote area and they lose their chance to im­prove their skills.”

The cam­paign, which is be­ing waged by health as­sis­tants across the coun­try, started on July 25.

– Trans­la­tion by Thiri Min Htun

‘When some­one points out the er­rors of a su­per­vi­sor, they are pun­ished.’

Ko Tun Myo Aung

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