WHO South-East Asia Journal of Public Health
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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 48-52

Gaps and challenges to integrating diabetes care in Myanmar

1 Diabetes Association, Yangon, Myanmar
2 Society of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Yangon, Myanmar
3 Department of Medicine, University of Medicine 2, Yangon, Myanmar
4 Department of Medical Research, University of Medicine 2, Yangon, Myanmar

Correspondence Address:
Tint Swe Latt
Myanmar Diabetes Association, Shwe Baho Hospital, First Floor, No 1/33, Thamain Bayan Street, Tamwe Township, 11211, Yangon
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DOI: 10.4103/2224-3151.206553

PMID: 28604398

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In common with other low-income countries, diabetes is a growing challenge for Myanmar. Gaps and challenges exist in political commitment, policy development, the health system, treatment-seeking behaviour and the role of traditional medicine. National policies aimed at prevention – such as to promote healthy food, create a healthy environment conducive to increased physical activity, restrict marketing of unhealthy food, and initiate mass awareness-raising programmes – need to be strengthened. Moreover, existing initiatives for prevention of noncommunicable-disease (NCD) are channelled vertically rather than being horizontally integrated. Primary health care is traditionally orientated more towards prevention of infectious diseases and staff often lack training in prevention and control of NCDs. Capacity-building activities have been modest to date, and retaining trained health workers in diabetes-oriented activities is a challenge. The World Health Organization Package of Essential Noncommunicable (PEN) disease interventions for primary health care in low-resource settings has been piloted in Yangon Region and country-wide expansion awaits ministerial approval. Recently, the Myanmar Diabetes Care Model was proposed by the Myanmar Diabetes Association, with the aims of both bridging the gap in diabetes care between rural and urban areas and strengthening care at the secondary and tertiary levels. However, implementation will require policy development for essential drugs and equipment, capacity-strengthening of health-care workers, and an appropriate referral and health-information system.

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