Despite increases to the healthcare budget over the past three years, people still have to cover their own medical expenses, and rural healthcare centres still need upgrading, said Dr Than Win, the newly-elected chairman of the committee for health, sports and culture in Myanmar’s Upper House of parliament.

The committee was formed during an Upper House in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday.

The chairman highlighted the need to give higher priority to the rural health centres than general hospitals, vowing to achieve the goal through coordinated efforts.

He also stressed the need to implement an inclusive healthcare system for the whole country, adding that efforts are being made to adopt such a system.

“The main responsibility of the healthcare sector is to take care of people’s health. There are many steps in this regard, such as training them to adopt healthy habits, preventing disease, curing diseases and rehabilitating those recovering from their illnesses,” said Dr Than Win.

He said the healthcare sector is related not only to the health ministry but also to economic, social and political affairs, as well as other ministries.

He said the government’s healthcare budget is insufficient to provide the care people need without them paying for it, and he called for effort to raise more funds for public health.