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Manipur trains Myanmar doctors

Imphal, July 29: An Imphal-based private hospital’s dream of making Manipur a destination for medical tourism in Southeast Asia is nearing realisation with neighbouring Myanmar sending not only patients but also medical teams for training here.

An eight-member medical team of two general surgeons and six senior nurses from Monywa General Hospital of Sagaing division began training at Shija Hospitals and Research Institute in Imphal from July 23 under the institute’s overseas training programme.

The chairman and managing director of the institute, Kh. Palin, said the team would get training in the areas of operation theatre technology, critical care and keyhole surgery during the three-month course.

To encourage the efforts by Shija Hospitals and convey his government’s gratitude to the neighbouring country, chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh today attended a function organised by the institute to receive the medical team.

Myanmar’s healthcare services are reportedly very poor and patients go to neighbouring countries like Thailand for serious cases and the trips are very costly.

Teams from Shija Hospitals made three medical trips to Myanmar to extend its healthcare services to the neighbouring country as part of its mission to strengthen the relationship between the two nations and also develop medical tourism in Manipur.

After the trips, dubbed Mission Myanmar, the number of patients coming from the country for treatment at Shija Hospitals has increased.

During the trips, the Shija teams conducted keyhole surgeries, cataract operations and cleft lip and palate corrective operations free of cost since May last year.

“We are grateful to the Manipur government and Shija Hospitals for giving us the opportunity for getting the training in critical areas of the health sector,” Nandalal, a general surgeon who is leading the Myanmarese team, said.

He said after they go back they could perform keyhole surgeries and provide critical healthcare to patients of Sagaing division, which would benefit his country immensely.

The Association of Minimal Access Surgeons of India, East Zone, has provided fellowship to the Myanmarese medical team.

S. Sugindro, superintendent of the institute and also president of the association, is supervising the training programme.

A Shija team performed the first keyhole surgery at Monywa General Hospital during one of the trips.

Shija Hospitals is also preparing a concept proposal to set up a speciality hospital in Myanmar on public-private partnership model.

Palin urged the chief minister to give top priority to providing visa on arrival to patients from Myanmar for not only improving ties between the two countries but also to make Manipur a health tourism destination.

Ibobi Singh termed Myanmar’s response as a “good beginning for better relationship and understanding between Myanmar and India”.

He told the Myanmarese team to convey his gratitude to his Sagaing counterpart for sending the team.

Ibobi Singh assured the private hospital that his government would explore possibilities of improving the healthcare facilities in the state on public-private partnership model.