Movement towards universal health coverage
A P4H country focal person (P4H-CFP) for Myanmar was deployed in 2019 to support work on burgeoning health financing (HF) reforms advancing universal health coverage (UHC). The P4H Network provided policy advisory and advocacy services to several ministries and members of parliament and to other stakeholders. These services were provided in the context of expanding the so-called Overton Window, under the leadership of the Ministry of Health (MOH).
The country needed a legal framework for UHC. Using a participatory and inclusive approach, the P4H-CFP supported the development of the National Health Insurance Bill. The bill is the legal basis for establishing national agencies for health financing reforms including the purchaser-provider split. It also creates a quality assurance agency.
At the MOH’s request, the P4H Network and one of its members, the World Health Organization (WHO), ran a rapid assessment of implementation of the National Health Plan (NHP) 2017 -2021. The findings informed a policy brief P4H and WHO produced to help Myanmar craft the next phase of the NHP. Additional support was threefold: developing technical and methodological reports on Myanmar’s National Health Accounts 2016-2018, costing the township-level Basic Essential Package of Health Services (BEPHS) and conducting a balanced scorecard exercise to assess BEPHS’s implementation.
Coordination and capacity strengthening
Before and dcuring the COVID-19 pandemic in Myanmar, the P4H Network contributed to the alignment and coordination of new and existing funding flows and mechanisms. P4H helped review a multicountry request for funding under the COVID-19 Response Mechanism of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (a member of P4H) that Cambodia, the Lao Peoples’ Democratic Republic, Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam submitted. The P4H-CFP also provided substantial assistance to establish a biosafety-level 3 lab, approved by WHO, in Mon State, Myanmar.
As a contributor to a capacity strengthening framework, the P4H Network led development of a nine-month diploma programme on HF at the University of Public Health, Yangon, with collaboration from P4H members such as WHO, the World Bank Group and the United States Agency for International Development. P4H also published “A Glossary of Frequently Used Terms in Health Financing for Universal Health Coverage” in Myanmar, the country’s official language. With the MOH’s support, P4H conducted a first round of data collection to develop the National Research Agenda for Health Financing through participatory consensus among multiple stakeholders.
Promoting the concept of investing in common goods for health, the P4H Network is also supporting the development and implementation of an open-source electronic data system for select purchasing initiatives intended to satisfy requirements for customization, sustainability, transparency, interoperability, security and privacy.