June 11 - 17 , 2007 Myanmar's first international weekly © Volume 19, No. 370

Mandalay continues to play vital role as healthcare centre for the upper north

By Aye Lei Tun
A patient undergoing a CT scan in one of Mandalay’s private clinics. Pic: Aye Lei Tun

AS well as being the cultural capital of Myanmar, the city of Mandalay is the place to go for medical attention in the upper north.

The city provides a wealth of health services and centres available to patients from within the region and beyond. Private clinics have played a leading role in maintaining this position for the city.

The superintendents of Nyein and Palace specialist clinics both agree that hospitals must offer excellent service, well-qualified staff and top notch medical equipment to maintain the public’s trust.

Dr Win Aung, superintendent of Nyein clinic, says: “I think the reason that patients come to these special clinics is to get quick medical attention and high-quality service. For this to continue clinics must be extremely competent, have specialist physicians and use the latest and best equipment.”

To maintain their standards of care, both clinics have installed some of the latest diagnostic instruments, including a multi-slice sub-second helical CT scanner, a digital video endoscope, a renal dialysis machine and many others.

Moreover, the City Hospital has added a 3D/4D ultrasound machine – which provides amazingly accurate moving three dimensional images of the subject – and the Palace specialist clinic has the only Cobas C111 machine in Mandalay. The Cobas C111 has a reputation as a superb chemical analyser and can test up to 80 samples per day.

Both specialist clinic directors said they hope that by offering such high-end technical equipment they can encourage more patients to visit their facilities.
Dr Myint Thein, superintendent of City Hospital, disagrees that the very latest electronic equipment is necessary. In his opinion, quality staff is more important.

“In my view, having enough skilled physicians and offering quality service is more important than having the most modern medical equipment in the clinic.
“These days new equipment comes out nearly every day and the ability to purchase it depends on the financial resources of the clinic,” he says.

And his approach seems to be working: The number of patients visitng City Hospital has doubled over the past two years. The number of patients treated at Palace clinic has increased by 70 percent over the past five years.

Nyein clinic director Dr Win Aung says it is policy at his clinic that staff always double-check results to make sure their diagnoses are correct.

“Although we install the latest instruments, our pathologists must always examine the results and patients several times to be sure. We also upgrade our medical equipment every two years,” he says.

The benefit of providing international-quality care to patients, Dr Myint Thein says, is that patients can choose to stay in Myanmar and receive the same care and procedures as they would in Thailand or Singapore.

“By offering high-quality medical services within the country, we can reduce the need for our patients to go abroad to seek medical treatment,” he says, hinting that he has even bigger plans for the future.

“We hope in future to offer similar services to patients from neighbouring countries like Thailand and Singapore at lower cost than in their home countries.”

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