Formulating health care services for better health of ageing population in rural area of Myanmar

Untitled 1 72Myanmar, like other developing countries, is facing the emerging issue of increasing number of ageing population. Myanmar Elderly People Law (2016) has defined those 60 years and above as elderly people.
Myanmar’s 2014 Census revealed that there are about 4.5 millions of ageing population which accounts for 8.7% of total population. Among them, 40 % are male and 60% are female. Seventy percent of them is residing in rural area and 30% in urban area. By 2050, the proportion is expected to reach nearly 20 % of the total population. With significant increase in ageing population, the increased number of people with disabilities and chronic illnesses became recognized.
According to the hospital statistics report (2014 – 2016), the leading causes of morbidity and mortality of ageing population are non-communicable diseases such as Hypertension, Diabetes, Ischemic Heart Disease and Cerebrovascular diseases.
Therefore, the health care services should be formulated according to the needs of ageing population. With the aim of achieving active and healthy ageing and improving the quality of life of them, the Ministry of Health and Sports is providing comprehensive health care services including promotive, preventive, curative and rehabilitative services.
“Elderly Health Care Program” has been launched in Myanmar since 1994 with the support of World Health Organization. As the basic health staff are main service providers at primary care centers, they are trained on health care for ageing population using manuals. The local community including NGOs and CBOs has also involved as social mobilizers and health promotors.
Recently, the Union Minister for Ministry of Health and Sports has highlighted the concept of Community Health Clinic (CHC) model for strengthening community health services to meet the changing health needs of the community and to utilize resources efficiently. The operational definition of the CHC is the action oriented public health care activity providing health care services focusing on screening and treatment of uncomplicated Diabetes and Hypertension and health care for ageing population on every Wednesday at Rural Health Center (RHC) and Urban Health Center (UHC).
Those primary health centers promote health status of ageing population through health literacy promotion and lifestyle modification such as encouraging eating healthy diet, promoting physical activity, cessation of tobacco use and reducing harmful use of alcohol. It also provides curative services for minor illnesses and makes timely referral to the respective higher centers for further necessary management.
While the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement is providing social support for senior citizens and the Ministry of Health and Sports is formulating health care services in order to meet their health care needs, the active involvement of local community is critical for improving quality of life of ageing population especially in rural area.
References:
1. The 2014 Myanmar Population and Housing Census; Highlights of the Main Results: Census Report Volume 2-A
2. Hospital Statistics Report, Ministry of Health and Sports (2014- 2016)
3. Elderly People Law, Myanmar (December, 2016)
4. Thematic Report on the older population; Census Report Volume 4-L (September, 2017)
5. The Global New Light of Myanmar; From Concept to implementation of Community Health Clinic (CHC) Model in Myanmar (11th September, 2018)

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