Advocacy meetings on addressing non-communicable diseases organized in five regions of Myanmar

Myanmar is currently experiencing rapid epidemiological transition which is resulting into increased burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs). As per the World Health Organization, 59% deaths in the country are occurring due to NCDs. The 2014 STEPS survey revealed that around 94% adults in the country have at least one risk factor of NCDs.

HelpAge International Myanmar in collaboration with University of Public Health, University of Medicine 2 and Thammasat University is implementing a project supported by European Union aiming at building public health capacities for supporting evidence based policy and improved health services in preparation for addressing NCDs. Advocacy meetings under this project were organized in 5 regions of Myanmar (Yangon, Bago, Nay Pyi Taw, Mandalay and Mawlamyaing) between 9th and 24th August 2016. The objective of these meetings was to sensitize policy makers, government officials and other stakeholders on the importance of addressing NCDs with comprehensive approach and the role of various departments and stakeholders.  

Participants in the Mandalay advocacy meeting   Chief Minister of Mandalay Region with other guests

Total 503 participants actively participated in these advocacy meetings. The participants included elected public representatives, officials from department of public health, department of medical care, department of education, department of sports, department of police and other stakeholders from universities, Red Cross, INGOs, NGOs and media. The meetings received very high level of political engagement as the Chief Minister of Mandalay Region and the Chairperson of Nay Pyi Taw Regional Council inaugurated the meetings in their respective regions and the meetings in other regions were chaired by the regional social ministers. 

Dr. Myint Shwe, Director, NCD Division, Prof. Ko Ko, University of Medicine 2, Dr. Tej Ram Jat, Project Manager, Dr. Soe Myint, Public Health Advisor and Dr. Kyaw Myint Myat Thein facilitated the meetings and discussed about overview of NCDs, causes and risk factors, current prevalence of NCDs in the country, comprehensive approach for prevention and management of NCDs, key challenges and opportunities as well as the role of different departments and stakeholders in addressing NCDs.