Dr. San San Yi, Chairman, Okkar Thiri
As foreign investment in Myanmar’s private health care sector increases, facilities are being modernised and the quality is improving
In this Global Platform video, Dr. San San Yi, chairman of Okkar Thiri, talks about the expansion of private hospitals in the country, which have increased from only one or two facilities during the 1980s, to 250 now. As more foreign investors are entering Myanmar, the quality of equipment and overall health care is continuing to improve, meaning that more people are being treated within the country. Looking ahead, the market is ripe for more private players, and public-private partnerships are set to be an area of high-growth potential.
Myanmar is a very beautiful country. Myanmar has 52m inhabitants and Yangon is the commercial city. Nearly 10m people are living in Yangon. This commercial city has a seaport, airport, and for me most recognisable is Schwedagon Pagoda. In the 1980s they were one or two private hospitals and in 2000 it became 50 and in 2015 it became 193, which is four times. And now, in 2020, there are 250. Foreign investors are rushing into the field of medical sector because this is the sunrise sector in this market. That's why private hospitals are coming out with their foreign investment and public-private partnership is the area to explore very soon. Global investment from two years back is increasing and in our health care sector also it is increasing, because we can see some international groups coming in. Some are already invested, some are going to be investing in the private sector. So, when I look at the private hospitals most of the hospitals are upgraded to become more modern with the high-quality equipment as well as the efficient after-sales services, which we are also providing. And those hospitals even are certified like JCI, ISO. The need of those hospitals is the management and manpower. For laboratories, there are also nowadays a lot of good machines. We need to improve quality control but many laboratories are aiming to get ISO 15189, which is the highest certificate for the laboratory. In the last five years, if you wanted to diagnose cancer you have to go to Bangkok or Singapore to get PET scan, and nowadays we can do it in Yangon General Hospital. We have linear accelerators, which can pinpoint and treat the cancer patients and this is installed not only in Yangon, even in Mandalay and Taunggyi. So those machines are treating 120 patients a day, as cancer incidence is increasing day by day. The most important point is the waiting time because in Myanmar there were a limited amount of doctors, especially the specialists. But now, a lot of doctors from abroad are coming back and waiting time is reduced. The people who are going outside to be treated or to get the diagnosis become less and less every year because of the facilities improving in this country. So five years national health plan was implemented and launched on 31st of March 2017 for the period of 2017-21. This universal health coverage will lead to this health insurance system. Whoever would like to come to Myanmar should have a good partner, because if you go with the wrong partner and if you go with the wrong company then you won't succeed. We need some more private hospitals, we need some more doctors, and we need efficient management to go for medical tourism.