Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Health Minister warns on drug-resistant and infectious diseases

As officials begin to draw up healthcare plans for the next five years, the nation faces two major public health problems: the prevalence of drug-resistant and non-communicable diseases, and the revival of communicable diseases.

Union Minister for Health U Than Aung told the Myanmar Health Research Congress that researchers should concentrate on finding new treatments to combat these problems, which were common throughout the region.

The minister told the congress, which is being held from January 5 to 9 in Yangon, that new vaccines and disease control procedures should be devised.

U Than Aung said the current national health plan (2011-16) was drawing to a close, and work had begun on the 2016-21 national strategic plan. To assist with the preparation of the plan, the World Health Organization and the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) had conducted a survey of hepatitis B and C prevalence. Researchers had also studied the effects of Artemisinin therapy and anti-malaria medication in some areas.

Participants in the congress discussed 99 papers and 49 poster displays and took part in 10 symposia and four scientific talks, many on disease prevention and control or research.

Medical research department spokesperson U Win Maw Tun told The Myanmar Times that this year’s congress had focused more on hepatitis B and C prevalence, environmental pollutants and research into health risks in order to help assemble the data necessary to resolving these problems.

U Win Maw Tun said particular attention had been directed to the survey of hepatitis B and C prevalence, in which the departments of medical research and public health, as well as the Myanmar Liver Foundation, had taken part.

“Researchers tested more than 5000 people for this survey,” he said, adding that the results would help public health officials better organise disease-control procedures.