Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Burmese Health Ministry gets less than half of required budget

Tuesday, 23 August 2011 22:20 Myo Thant

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – In reply to an MP’s question in the Burmese Lower House of Parliament, Health Minister Dr. Pe Thet Khin said that his department received a very small health budget––about 43 percent of its essential needs.

A joint session of the Burmese Parliament met on Monday. Photo: Mizzima

Theshortfall will cause a lack of medicine and services in government hospitals, he said on
Tuesday, the second day of the current parliamentary sessions.

Minister Pe Thet Khin said his ministry needed 8 billion kyat per year but received 3.5 billion kyat, according to reports by MPs provided to Mizzima.

The following instructions were given to MPs regarding improper behaviour:
  • Actions that can harm the integration of the Union national solidarity and the perpetuation of national sovereignty
  • Insult religions
  • Jeopardize the welfare of the people and the nation
  • Betray the nation
  • Directly or indirectly leak information regarding the state security and secrets of the nation
  • Question someone’s moral character or behaviour
  • Violate the principles of the Constitution

Tin Yu, a Union Solidarity of Development Party MP from Rangoon Region constituency No. 11, questioned the minister regarding health care services in government hospitals in states and regions. Pe Thet Khin said that medicines were insufficient in government clinics and hospitals, and they would be unable to provide adequate health services.

In March, at the first regular parliamentary session, MP Dr. Sai Kyaw Ohn of the Shan Nationalities Democratic Party [SNDP] made a motion to set up a state health programme to grant free public health care services to low-income people. Former Health Minister Dr. Kyaw Myint replied that Burma used a cost-sharing system and rejected the suggestion.

In the questioning period in the Upper House, MP Swe Aung raised a question whether the government will impose laws and regulations regarding conservation. In response, Forestry Minister Win Tun said that his ministry has drafted forestry laws.

MP Dr. Mya Aye made a motion that an official appointed by the Union government or the president should be assigned to draft laws concerning registration of private schools. The Lower House will decide whether to discuss the motion or not on Wednesday.  

MP Kyi Myint moved a motion to remove export taxes in order to reduce costs, to boost exports and to support economic development. The assembly will decide on Wednesday whether the motion will be discussed or not.

Tuesday’s parliamentary sessions in the Lower House and Upper House lasted about two and half hours, a longer duration than sessions during the first session of Parliament earlier this year.

Meanwhile, Tomas Ojea Quintana, the UN special rapporteur on human rights in Burma, arrived in Naypyitaw and met with Lower House Speaker Thura Shwe Mann and Upper House Speaker Aung Khin Myint.

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