Myanmar

Our longstanding partnership with Myanmar began in 2013 and developed through a member of the Myanmar diaspora community living in Cambridge, Dr Thinn Thinn Hlaing. The partnership has continued to strengthen, and in 2016 a Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection found that the partnership project in ICU was an area of “outstanding practice”.

Myanmar is home to some of the world’s most dangerous roads, resulting in high levels of road traffic accidents. Unsurprisingly, trauma is a leading killer of adults under 40 in Myanmar and the most common cause of death among patients admitted to Yangon General Hospital (YGH), a 1500-bed tertiary-care teaching hospital in Yangon affiliated with the University of Medicine 1 (UM1).

We work in partnership with YGH, the Ministry of Health and Sports and Myanmar diaspora groups. The aim of the partnership is to improve trauma care for patients across the trauma pathway, coining the name the Cambridge Yangon Trauma Intervention Partnership (CYTIP). The partnership works with various specialities, including orthopaedics, anaesthesia/ICU, clinical skills, pathology, nursing and physiotherapy.Each arm has developed an independent programme of engagement, with a degree of integration between these. Approaches have included:

  • short didactic teaching courses
  • workshops
  • bilateral exchange visits
  • long-term placements (LTVs – read their blogs)
  • local and national research projects
  • ongoing technical and non-technical support between partners.

To ensure the sustainability of our work, we have also delivered ‘train the trainer’ courses. This has a cascade effect, with knowledge reaching a further 1,000 surgeons, pathologists, intensive care doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and laboratory technicians. The partnership has also worked with the Ministry of Health and Sports to develop a national plan for ICU services across Myanmar.

The partnership has actively responded to the COVID-19 pandemic and will continue to do so through the recovery phase. Unfortunately visits have been postponed, however the partnership is instead moving seminars and teaching online. Partners remain in regular contact, sharing best practice and relevant resources such as guidelines and protocols. In June 2020, clinicians from Cambridge University Hospitals hosted the first virtual seminar titled, COVID-19 – Sharing and Learning with a Focus on Critical Care.

In 2019, we hosted senior delegates from Myanmar in Cambridge. Among the delegates was Professor Zaw Wai Soe, Rector of University Medicine 1, Yangon. The aim of the visit was to develop national improvement plans for trauma services. In late 2019, three long term volunteers from Cambridge University Hospitals, travelled to Yangon to spend 3-6months in YGH as part of the CYTIP partnership. The volunteers included two physiotherapists and one critical care nurse. They have written a series of blogs documenting their experience, following on from previous long term volunteers.

The partnership has been funded by the THET health partnership scheme, Rangoon General Hospital Re-invigoration Trust (RGHRT), the former UK Department for International Development (DfID) and Brighter Futures Foundation.

We are really appreciative of what Cambridge clinicians are able to offer our own health professionals as we strive and invest to ensure safer and better care for all patients in our country. We hope that the friendship between the Ministry of Health, Myanmar, and Cambridge will continue to thrive for our mutual benefit and understanding, to uplift the health status of the people living in Myanmar.

Professor Pe Thet Khin Minister of Health, Myanmar 2014