Located in the heart of the tropics, visitors to Myanmar should be wary of the potential of tropical diseases, particularly in rural areas. In Yangon, the two diseases to watch out for are Dengue Fever (which saw a peak in cases last year) and rabies.

During the country’s five decades of isolation, healthcare infrastructure fell a long way behind neighbouring countries but recent years have seen improvements in this area. There are now a few international-standard hospitals around town, while the public hospitals also offer quite good healthcare services.

At the international clinics, prices are inevitably higher than at public hospitals and a consultation with an international doctor will cost upwards of $50.

AVAILABILITY OF HEALTHCARE

Myanmar medical care falls short of international standards and local hospitals should only be used in emergency situations. If your needs are not immediate contact your embassy for advice, as staff will usually direct you to the best options. Be aware that getting Western style health care may not come cheap.

If you think you may have a serious disease, especially malaria do not waste time, travel to the nearest quality facility to receive treatment. It is always better to be assessed by a doctor than to rely on self-treatment.

Buying medication over the counter is not recommended in Myanmar as fake medications and poorly-stored drugs are common.

STOMACH BUGS AND DIARRHEA

By far the most common problem affecting travellers in Myanmar is caused by bacteria. Treatment consists of staying well hydrated: use rehydration salts mixed with lots of bottled water. Antibiotics such as Ciprofloxacin or Azithromycin will kill the bacteria quickly.

Giardiasis is relatively common. Symptoms include; nausea, bloating, excess gas, fatigue and intermittent diarrhoea. The treatment of choice is Tinidazole, with Metronidazole being a second option.

FOOD

Rather than be overly concerned at street stalls, where food is freshly cooked to order, note that eating in restaurants is the biggest risk factor for contracting traveller’s diarrhoea. Avoid shellfish, and food that has been sitting around on buffets. Peel all fruit, cook vegetables and soak salads in iodine water for at least 20 minutes. Eat in busy restaurants with a high turnover of customers.

DRINKING WATER

  • Never drink tap water
  • Avoid ice
  • Check bottled water seals are intact at purchase.
  • Avoid fresh juices – they may have been watered down.
  • Boiling water is the most efficient method of purifying it.
  • Iodine, the best chemical purifier, should not be used by pregnant women or those who suffer with thyroid problems.
  • Ensure your water filter has a chemical barrier, such as iodine, and a pore size of less than four microns.

HEAT

Avoid muscle cramps and nausea by drinking lots of water and avoiding excessive exercise. Heatstroke is a serious medical emergency and must be acted upon immediately. Symptoms come on suddenly and include weakness, nausea, a hot dry blood of temperatures of over 41 degrees, dizziness, loss of coordination, fits and eventual collapse and loss of consciousness. Seek medical help and commence cooling by getting the person out of the heat, removing their clothes, and applying wet cloth or ice to their body, especially to the groin and armpits.

TRADITIONAL MEDICINE

Throughout Myanmar traditional medical systems are widely practiced. Traditional healing systems such as Chinese medicine are well respected, and aspects of them are being increasingly used by western medical practitioners.

All traditional Asian medical systems identify an essential life force, and see blockage or imbalance as blocking the disease. Techniques such as herbal medicines, massage and acupuncture are used to bring this vita force back into balance or to maintain balance.  These therapies are best for treating chronic fatigue, arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, skin conditions and other chronic ailments. Don’t use traditional medicines to treat serious acute infections, such as malaria.

Be aware that ‘natural’ doesn’t always mean ‘safe’, and there can be drug interactions between herbal medicines and Western medicines. If you are using both systems ensure that you inform both practitioners what the other has prescribed.

VACCINATION

Hepatitis A: Recommended for all travellers.

Hepatitis B: Recommended for all travellers.

Polio: One time booster recommended for any adult who completed the childhood series but has never had a polio vaccine as an adult.

Yellow Fever: Required for all travellers who have been in a yellow fever-infected area in Africa or the Americas. Otherwise, not recommended. Japanese encephalitis: Recommended for anyone spending a month or more in rural areas, or anyone spending a substantial amount of time outdoors. Rabies: Rabies is carried by some dogs in Myanmar – and the street dogs in Yangon can be particularly aggressive at night. Recommended.

Malaria: Malaria is reasonably rife in Myanmar, less so in Yangon. Some medication is recommended, particularly for those in rural areas.

Dengue Fever: There has been a recent spike in cases in Yangon. Travellers should take precautions, including bite cream, mosquito nets and cover their bodies, particularly at night.

PHARMACIES

A PLUS
352 Shed 4, New Bogyoke Market, Bogyoke Aung San Road, Downtown
+95 (0) 9 7316 9704
10 am to 5 pm

AA PHARMACY
146 Sule Pagoda Road, Downtown
+95 (0) 1 253 231, +95 (0) 1 242481, +95 (0) 1 251451, +95 (0) 1 242651
8 am to 9 pm

GOLDEN BELL PHARMACY
Room 006, Yuzana Tower, Shwegondine Road (West), Bahan township
+95 (0) 1 558 213; +95 (0) 1 552 840
8:30 am to 9 pm

MINGALAR PHARMACY
91-93 Bogyoke Aung San Road, Downtown
95 (0) 1 298 678
8 am to 9 pm

General Practitioners (GPs)

PUBLIC HOSPITALS

Yangon General Hospital
Yangon General Hospital

YANGON GENERAL HOSPITAL
Yangon’s largest General hospital has a capacity of 1,500 beds consisting of three medical wards, three surgical wards, one trauma and orthopaedic ward, and 24 specialist departments for in-patient care. The hospital also runs an ER for general medicine, general surgery and traumatology Anawratha Road, Latha Township
+95 (0) 256112; +95 (0) 1 384493

EAST YANGON GENERAL HOSPITAL
Located in Botataung township, East Yangon General Hospital consists of a medical ward, a surgical ward, a paediatric ward, and an obstetrics and gynaecology ward. The hospital also runs an ER for general medicine, general surgery and traumatology.
Merchant Road (near 54th Street), Botahtaung township, Yangon
+95 (0) 1 292835, +95 (0) 1 292836, +95 (0) 1 292837

WEST YANGON GENERAL HOSPITAL
Consisting a medical ward, a surgical ward, a paediatric ward, and an obstetrics and gynaecology ward, West Yangon also runs an ER for general medicine, general surgery and traumatology.
Lower Kyeemyindaing Road, Ahlone township
+95 (0) 1 222860, +95 (0) 1 222861

YANGON CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL
Yangon’s children’s hospital includes an emergency department and a capacity of 1,300 beds.
2 Pyidaungzu Yeiktha Road, Yangon
+95 (0) 1 256112; +95 (0) 1 384493

PRIVATE HOSPITALS

KEMBANGAN -UHC HOSPITAL
Medical and aesthetic services are provided at an international level. Aesthetic services include cosmetic dermatology and plastic surgery. They also have a centre specializing in liver ailments.
No.439-441.New University Avenue Road. Bahan Township. Yangon, Myanmar
+95 (0) 9 44802 6197
http://www.kembangangp.com/radiant.aesthetics@gmail.com

SAKURA HOSPITAL
Opened in 1998 Sakura is a modern hospital with reasonable rooms and facilities.
No.23, Shin Saw Pu Street, Sanchaung Township, Yangon, Myanmar.
+95 (0) 1 512 668 24/7

VICTORIA HOSPITAL
With a self-proclaimed mission to provide international standard healthcare with reasonable pricing Victoria Hospital is well-equipped with modern technology.
No. 68, Tawwin Road, 9 Mile, Mayangone Township, Yangon, Myanmar
+95 (0) 1 9666141 24/7

SHWEGONDAING SPECIALIST CENTRE (S.S.C)
A general private hospital, opened in 2001, with 200 beds providing medical and surgical services with care and compassion. ? 7, East Shwe Gon Dine Road, Bahan, Yangon
+95 (0) 1 544 128, +95 (0) 1 544 116 24/7

ASIA ROYAL HOSPITAL
Clean, reasonable-standard private hospital close to downtown Yangon. Asia Royal Cardiac and Medical Care Centre, Baho Road, Sanchaung township
+95 (0) 1 538055 /+95 (0) 1 537 296 (Fax) 24/7
www.asiaroyalmedical.com

PUN HLAING HOSPITAL
International-standard hospital located in the far west of the city.
Pun Hlaing Hospital, Pun Hlaing Golf Estate Avenue, Hlaing Tharyar township
+95 (0) 1 684323; +95 (0) 9 4210 42679  24/7
enquiry.phih@spa.com.mm – punhlainghospital.com

ACADEMY HOSPITAL
335, Lower Kyee Myin Daing Rd, Ahlone Tsp
+95 (0) 1 212890, +95 (0) 1 212886 24/7

BAHOSI HOSPITAL
Providing 24 hour emergency care service, in patient care, intensive care, observation services and pharmacy services
Bogyoke Aung San Rd, Bahosi Housing, Lanmadaw Tsp
+95 (0) 1 2300631 24/7

INTERNATIONAL SOS CLINIC
International quality healthcare centre in the north of Yangon
International SOS Clinic, Inya Lake Hotel Resort, 37 Kaba Aye Pagoda Road, Mayangone Township +95 (0) 1 657922
internationalsos.com

DENTISTS

D-INYA ROAD DENTAL CARE CENTRE
A panel of dentists available for consultation throughout the week.
No 6/A, Inya Road, Yangon, Myanmar
+95 (0) 1 524430 Daily 09:00

TUN TUN THWE
Dental Clinic, 2nd Floor, Sakura Tower, 339 Bogyoke Aung San Road, Kyauktada township
+95 (0) 1 255118
9am to 6 pm (Make an appointment first)

MYINT HTAIN
70 Dhama Yone Street, Sanchaung township
+95 (0) 1 539795; +95 (0) 9 7315 7997

AYE AYE
Delta Plaza, Room 003, Building C, Ground Floor 247/269 Shwegonedine Road, Bahan township
+95 (0) 1 552914; +95 (0) 9 515 7399
10 am to 5 pm (Make an appointment frist)

VETS

MAY VET CLINIC, DR. SOE MIN LIN
Hlaing Myint Mo Housing Estate, Kan Street, Kamayut township
+95 (0) 9 7313 3112

PAING PHYO VET CLINIC, DR MYINT WYN
006, Building 4, Myaing Hay Win Housing, Mayangone township
+95 (0) 1 6535 575

DOMESTIC ANIMAL CARE CENTRE
Room 106, Building 1, Myaing Hay Wun Housing, Kyaik Waing Pagoda Road (near Junction 8 Super Market), Yankin township
+95 (0) 9 518 6391; +95 (0) 1 665508
5pm to 9pm

Photo credits:
Daniel roca, Julian Ray, Sura Photography, Gerhard Joren, Christopher Ian Smith

This article was first published on MYANMORE’S survival guide KnowIt, first edition, Nov 2014.

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