Myanmar CDC: 'Now the Dream Is Becoming True'

 Dr. Soe Lwin Nyein, Director General (Retired), Department of Public Health, Ministry of Health and Sports, Myanmar Dr Stephan Paul Jost, Country Representative, World Health Organization

"The Myanmar CDC is my passion. Although I am no longer the DIrector General, I will do all I can to help make it successful." Dr. Soe Lwin Nyein, Director General (retired), Department of Public Health, Ministry of Health and Sports, Myanmar (left) and Stephan Paul Jost, Country Representative, World Health Organization (right).

Dr. Than Tun Aung, Deputy Director General in the Myanmar Ministry of Health and Sports (MOHS), was working night and day supporting the MOHS response to cases of swine flu – H1N1 influenza when an “outbreak of concern” erupted on social media. Although the MOHS deemed the extent of the outbreak to be consistent with seasonal flu, not a cause for particular alarm, the government mobilized to respond.

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Dr. Aung facilitates many programs in the MOHS, including surveillance and response, the National Immunization Program, and an emergency operations center. In addition, he leads the effort to establish the Myanmar CDC. In August 2017, a team from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and International Association of National Public Health Institutes visited the Myanmar MOHS to map a strategic plan for the creation of the Myanmar CDC. The meetings focused on topics such as surveillance and response, emergency operations, workforce development, public health education, risk communication, and research. Several partner organizations, including Public Health England, the Japan International Cooperation Agency, the United States Agency for International Development, and the World Bank, were actively engaged. Dr. Than Tun Aung noted, “It is important to have a good public health system for the country. We hope that in five years we will have a strong Myanmar CDC to improve the health of the country. We are grateful to the US CDC and IANPHI for giving us a wider scope, wider range.”

To conclude the visit, recommendations for the Myanmar CDC priorities and organizational structure were presented to the Union Minister and Director General of the MOHS. Both parties stressed the importance and commitment to the establishment of a Myanmar CDC. “This is a big dream for us – establishment of a Myanmar CDC,” said Dr. Aung. “Now the dream is becoming true.”

Additional Resources

Myanmar MOH Shares Vision for a NPHI in Southeast Asia

Laying the Foundation for the Myanmar CDC

Spark Regional Collaboration and Capacity for Laboratory-based Disease Detection

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