The healthcare infrastructure in Myanmar is still below global standards, with as much as ~70% of the population residing in rural areas. Yangon, Mandalay and the capital city of Naypyidaw are the three regions in the country that are able to provide adequate healthcare services for patients. Lack of investments along with foreign sanctions (such as barring international NGOs to provide health services) during the military regime limited the country’s public health system to shambles in the past decade.
HEALTHCARE EXPENDITURE (% OF GDP) – 2014 PER CAPITA TOTAL HEALTHCARE EXPENDITURE (US$) – 2014
Source: Solidiance Research & Analysis, World Health Organisation (WHO),Ministry of Health (MOH).
Only after 2010, in which a democratic government came into power, that the country and all its systems embrace market liberalization and started to focus on healthcare. In 2010, Myanmar was identified as the only Asian developing country with a defense budget greater than healthcare and education put-together. Myanmar’s liberalized market has now compelled the government to announce a re-allocation of GDP spending with a greater focus on both healthcare and education. in 2012, a letter of intent was signed between the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Myanmar Government to increase the nation’s healthcare spending.
Between 2010 to 2014, healthcare expenditure made by the government increased from 12% to 40%. In January 2015, the government also proposed a plan in the parliament to increase healthcare budget allocation at an annual growth rate of 6% in coming years, reiterating their commitment to improve healthcare in Myanmar.
MYANMAR HEALTHCARE EXPENDITURE SPLIT TOTAL HEALTHCARE EXPENDITURE IN USD BILLION BY COUNTRY
(USD MILLION) (EST. 2015)
Source: World Health Organization (WHO), Ministry of Health (MOH), Solidiance Research and Analysis, Asia Development Bank
As only three regions in Myanmar are able to provide adequate healthcare services for patients, Myanmar’s healthcare system is still faced with a number of challenges which result in an overall dismal healthcare offering & delivery. Myanmar has a shortage of doctors as most practicing doctors want to be located in or around big cities. The availability of doctors in tier-2 cities is extremely low and the doctors attending to the sick are mostly underpaid. Moreover, the quality of medicines in Myanmar is also an issue. Many drugs in Myanmar are unregulated or counterfeit.
THERE ARE SIGNIFICANT NEEDS IN MYANMAR’S HEALTHCARE INFRASTRUCTURE THAT REQUIRE FOREIGN INVESTMENTS
Public tertiary care hospitals cater to specialized medical treatments and services in big cities like Yangon, Mandalay, Nay Pyi Taw, and Taunggyi, while government hospitals offer medical services to the Ministry employees only, with the public primary care hospitals catering to bulk of the population by working with local communities.
Yangon region has the highest number of hospitals in Myanmar (119 hospitals in total) compared to that in other regions – of that, 72 hospitals are owned by the public sector while 45 hospitals are privately owned.
HOSPITALS BY LEVEL, EST. 2015 (1,225 HOSPITALS) HOSPITAL BEDS BY SECTOR, EST. 2015 (73,140 BEDS)
Source: World Health Organization (WHO), Health System Review 2014 Report from Ministry of Health (MOH), Solidiance Research and Analysis
Public hospitals account for ~86% of total hospitals, but are far behind regional quality standards, while private hospitals account for 14% of total hospitals and contribute to 7% of total beds in Myanmar.
In public hospitals, selected basic medicines and lab tests are being offered free of charge for poor and emergency patients since late 2014. There has been an ~10% increase in the number of private hospitals between 2011 and 2015.
PRIVATE AND PUBLIC HOSPITALS DISTRIBUTION ACROSS THE COUNTRY, EST. 2015
Source: Central Statistical Organization, Ministry of Health (MOH), Myanmar Private Hospitals’ Association, Solidiance Research & Analysis