Posted on 10 July, 2013

This post is by Fiona Hyde, Project Coordinator – Mandalay, Myanmar.

Where do you live? By myself in Mandalay. My nieces sometimes stay with me

Is it usual for females to hold high management positions in Myanmar? Yes it is very common

How many days a week do you work? 7 days a week but the weekends are only half a day

When was your last holiday? Holiday? No I have never taken a holiday

What never? No never. I have been to some conferences though

What is the annual salary of most of your patients? 50% of our patients are poor and are unable to afford any treatment when they present to the hospital. About 45% of people are poor but may be able to afford some treatment. About 5% of people can afford healthcare. These are only the people that present to Mandalay General Hospital but there are many others that don’t come for help. When we have a patient that can not afford treatment we have to rely upon donations from others and the medical companies.

What is the average salary of a nurse? About US$110 / month. They live in the Nurses Residence within the hospital free of charge and go home on their days off

What is your favourite pastime when you are not working? Reading and meditation

What music do you listen to? I listen to Myanmese music but I also like the Bee Gees and the Carpenters

What is the biggest change in Myanmar since the democratic elections in 2010? The healthcare budget has been increased so we can afford to buy some equipment. We now have freedom of speech and can also travel outside of the country more if we want

What is the best thing the Australian Team has taught you? Dr Peter Illes is a multipurpose cardiologist so he can teach us many things. Most Western teams come and just teach us which is helpful. The Australian team comes for a whole week and not only teaches us but brings a lot of equipment and donations for the poor patients. With these donations we can help many people

Professor Than Than trying some bread and vegemite. Surprisingly the doctors enjoyed the vegemite having second serves. The same couldnt be said for the nurses! The Tim Tams and jelly snakes were a lot more popular

A very lucky, unlucky lady

Day 2 in Mandalay started very quickly. A lady admitted to the Coronary Care Unit had very bad chest pains and was found to be having a large heart attack. She was promptly taken to the diagnostic laboratory to find the cause to be a life threatening lesion in her main coronary artery. In Australia patients would be sent for an emergency bypass operation however this was not an option – there is no bypass surgery in Mandalay and she would not survive the 700km to Yangon. With her lungs rapidly filling with water and her condition deteriorating before us we went ahead and implanted a donated Terumo stent to her main artery, a very high risk procedure. Happily we can report she is well and walking around 2 days later and cannot thank us enough. She is one very lucky lady.

Thank you Terumo for your life saving stent – without your donation this would not be such a happy story.

Daw Tin Tin and David Scott. She is looking much brighter today

Tags:  Myanmar,