Yangon govt to clamp down on unlicensed health clinics
THE Yangon Region government has announced that it will conduct inspections and take action against unlicensed traditional Chinese medicine clinics in the city.
U Naing Ngan Lin, regional minister for social affairs, told the state hluttaw last week that the government had recently found two clinics in Yangon operating without permission from the Ministry of Health and Sports.
“We are investigating other Chinese clinics and will take action to close other [unlicensed] operators down,” he said.
Traditional Chinese medicine is a popular way of curing bone and jointrelated pain, and clinics can be widely found throughout downtown Yangon.
According to the law relating to private healthcare, any person offering such services without a licence faces a jail term ranging from six months to five years and may also be fined. Unlicensed clinics also face closure.
The Yangon Region director of the Department of Medical Services, Dr Thar Tun Kyaw, said authorities had permanently shuttered three unlicensed clinics operating in Yangon since April.
Dr Thar Tun Kyaw warned prospective patients of the potential dangers of using unlicensed clinics.
“[The operators] did not officially apply to the department to open these clinics. The cost of treatment was very high at these clinics and they used Chinese medicine techniques. We can’t confirm whether [people providing the treatments] are the real doctors or not because they did not submit a licence,” he said.
According to the department, it is not only traditional Chinese medicine clinics that have been found to be unlicensed.
Pabedan township lawmaker U Than Naing Oo said private clinics advertise by handing out flyers, and many of them focus on reproductive health.
U Than Naing Oo said he had visited a number of clinics after receiving advertising material and found the conditions to be sub-standard.
“I’m worry that the unlicensed clinics provide abortion treatments. This treatment is illegal and very dangerous for the patients,” he said. “The government should also inspect these kinds of clinics to see whether they are really licensed or not. If they don’t, people may be endangered.”
A member of the Myanmar Medical Council told The Myanmar Times that patients should not believe all they read in clinics’ advertising and that the government needs to take strong action against illegal clinics to ensure public safety. In addition to health risks, many private clinics advertise that they employ foreign doctors, which can significantly increase the price of treatment.
Daw Khin Hnin Aye recently contacted a private clinic in Dawbon township, where she is a resident, which assured her of the quality of its medical services, and told her that they employed Taiwanese doctors along with local staff.
“The clinic told me that their doctors didn’t make mistakes but I didn’t trust them because I felt they couldn’t provide me with a guarantee of good treatment,” she said.
Dr Thar Tun Kya called for the public’s assistance in the government’s attempts to close down unlicensed clinics.
“Public knowledge and cooperation are needed,” he said. “If the people inform the authorities about the unlicensed clinics, they will take action. Where they are and what they do is the type of useful information needed.”
MYINT KAY THI