Developing Geriatric Medicine in Myanmar
Myanmar, previously known as Burma, is a developing country situated in South East Asia. Like the rest of the developed (and developing) world, the population is ageing and this is increasingly evident in Myanmar. In 2014, approximate 4,122,000 Myanmar residents were aged 65+ and constituted about 8.5 per cent of the total population of the country. It was also estimated that about 6 percent of these senior citizens lived on their own. The older population is getting larger year by year. There are about 25,000 care home residents in Yangon, the largest city of the country. In these circumstances, it is vital to provide the comprehensive medical care and services to our older people.
Beginning the journey of the specialty
Aiming to fulfill the fundamental health needs of older people, the first Department of Geriatric Medicine was established in Myanmar on February 2016 in the Yangon General Hospital (YGH), the largest teaching hospital. The Department is staffed by three geriatricians, seven doctors in training and seven nurses. The team primarily provides the acute geriatric care and management of older patients.
A glimpse on the elderly care ward at YGH
The Victorian Style Geriatric Medical Ward has seventy beds in total and the ward is situated in the historic main building of the hospital. As part of the daily practice, the team provides care to over one hundred in-patients, including General Medical patients. As might be expected, demand greatly exceeds our capacity to accommodate patients. Nonetheless, the team goes extra miles to provide the best care to the older patients, acutely admitted to the ward. Any form of sepsis, ischaemic stroke, congestive cardiac failure, COPD exacerbation and different presentations of malignancies are common triggering factors of acute older admissions.
Support would be welcome
We still have some way to go to achieve the kind of comprehensive service we would like to render, including:
- Funding for sustainable integrated care,
- Sufficient staff for resilient clinical workforce,
- Technical support for the care pathways and subspecialty developments,
- Collaborative partnership for training and education.
We work to strengthening multidisciplinary partnerships with the Department of General Internal Medicine and many other specialties such as neurology and rehabilitation medicine. A one-year postgraduate diploma programme has been set up and will be launched soon.
We are calling on the many jobbing geriatricians in the UK who are members of the BGS. You are warmly invited if you would like to get involved in developing Geriatric Medicine in Myanmar. Please freely contact to Professor Than Win Nyunt, Head of the Department of Geriatric Medicine, Yangon General Hospital Myanmar via . Your expertise and support will be hugely valued and appreciated.
T W Nyunt1, M Z Oo1, H Y Mon1, M T Oo2
1. Department of Geriatric Medicine, Yangon General Hospital Myanmar
2. Department of Geriatric Medicine, Sandwell General Hospital UK