Observations Heads Up

Voting for change in Myanmar

BMJ 2016; 352 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i705 (Published 17 February 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;352:i705
  1. Krishna Chinthapalli, neurology advanced trainee, Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney, Australia
  1. kchinthapalli{at}bmj.com

Can the newly elected government effect desperately needed healthcare reform?

Two hundred years ago, Myanmar was one of the wealthiest Asian kingdoms. But colonialism and war had impoverished the country by the time of its independence from Britain in 1948. Fourteen years later, the military seized power and has ruled the country ever since. During this time, military spending has been estimated to account for 20 to 40% of Myanmar’s gross domestic product (GDP), more than health and education spending combined.

On 8 November 2015, Myanmar held its first election involving Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in 25 years—and she won again as she did in 1990. This time the military junta said that it would work with her. Such cooperation is urgently needed to improve the country’s healthcare.

Second worst healthcare system

In 2000 the World Health Organization …

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