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Reuters Examines Myanmar’s Efforts To Improve Health Sector

Reuters examines efforts by Myanmar’s government to improve health in the country “as it ratchets up spending on the sector and seeks foreign investment to revive one of Asia’s sickest health care systems.” The news service writes, “In 2000, during the dark days of dictatorship, the [WHO] ranked Myanmar second-last out of 191 countries surveyed for ‘overall health system performance,'” adding, “By the 2009/2010 fiscal year, patients in Myanmar had to cover 81 percent of their health care costs themselves, the highest of any country in Asia, according to World Bank data.” Reuters notes, “The administration of President Thein Sein has cut military spending and raised health care funding to three percent of government spending this fiscal year to March 31, from one percent the previous year.” “Attracting foreign investment is part of an overhaul of the health care system by the quasi-civilian government that took over from the army in 2011,” Reuters writes (Ferrie, 12/2).