In Myanmar, PSI has been at the forefront of the COVID-19 pandemic since day one. In fact, the country’s first case of COVID-19 was identified by a doctor at a Sun Quality Health Clinic, a franchise of clinics run by PSI Myanmar, on March 23. To date, Myanmar has seen 290 confirmed cases of the virus and six resulting deaths.
PSI Myanmar’s providers have been an essential part of the healthcare response to COVID-19 nationwide and adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) is essential for keeping them and their patients safe. Wave Money, a joint venture between Telenor and Yoma Bank, has generously donated to PSI Myanmar to ensure that providers have access to PPE throughout the COVID pandemic.
PSI Myanmar has been working with Wave Money since late 2018 when the vendor was part of a pilot project designed to test three different mobile money transfer platforms. Given PSI Myanmar’s extensive reach—more than 9,000 providers nationwide, including doctors, pharmacies, informal outlets and volunteers across the country—paying employees without mobile options was time-consuming, expensive and risky. Through the pilot program and resulting partnership with Wave Money, PSI has been able to set up its own money transfer platform, which includes performance-based incentive compensation and revenue collection.
With its extensive reach, PSI Myanmar reaches private sector network providers in 201 townships and 18 states, some of whom are in hard-to-reach or remote locations. This makes mobile money even more important in this pandemic as it’s the most efficient form of payment for providers, who play an important role in the provision of health services, including fever screening and proper referral. Fever screening is especially important in malaria-endemic Myanmar, where an accurate diagnosis is essential for receiving a referral to the correct kind of care.
Fever clinics have become one of Myanmar’s solutions for screening suspected cases of COVID and referring them to public facilities, and PSI doctors have begun offering these services at their clinics across the country. With the addition of COVID screening at these private-sector fever clinics, the burden on public facilities to screen potential cases is reduced. In the Mandalay region, doctors who are part of the Sun Quality Health network have been leading the establishment of fever clinics across the city. PPE donated by Wave Money was sent to these clinics and other Sun clinics across the country. The Myanmar Medical Association provided recommendations for the equipment that each fever clinic should have and training on how to use it.
Dr. Han Min Tun, who works at a Sun fever clinic in the city of notes that the donation of PPE has allowed a limited budget to go further: “This donation of essential protective items from Wave Money is helping us to run fever clinics for a longer period,” he explains. “Now, we can reallocate our budget to buy other necessary items. Otherwise, we would have to stop operating clinics when funding runs short. Simple as that.”
Thank you to Wave Money, Telenor and Yoma Bank for helping PSI’s doctors in Myanmar stay safe while providing essential services to fight COVID.