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Speech Transcripts

February 9, 2015

Speech at the Commencement Ceremony of the Project for Improving Loikaw General Hospital in Myanmar

Loikaw General Hospital, Myanmar

Excellency Dr. Thein Thein Htay, Deputy Minister for Health,

Excellency U Khin Maung Oo, Kayah State Chief Minister,

Mr. Hideo Watanabe, Chairman of Japan-Myanmar Association,

Representative from the Embassy of Japan,

My fellow colleagues of the Ministry of Health, and

Ladies and gentlemen.

It is my great honor to open the Commencement Ceremony of "the Project for Improving Loikaw General Hospital in Kayah State." I would like to thank all of you here today for your contribution to this Project. In particular, I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation to Her Excellency Dr. Thein Thein Htay, Deputy Minister for Health, and His Excellency U Khin Maung Oo, Kayah State Chief Minister, for their strong initiative to lead this effort. I would also like to thank colleagues from Loikaw General Hospital and Kayah Health Department, Ministry of Health for their sincere and devoted efforts to realize this Project. I heard from my staff that this Project was prepared with unprecedented speed thanks to your cooperation and dedication. I would also like to thank all representatives of the Japanese consulting and construction companies, Yamashita Sekkei and Toda Corporation, for their involvement and kind support.

Let me briefly touch upon Japan and JICA's support for Myanmar. In May 2013, Prime Minister Abe visited Myanmar, the first prime ministerial visit in 36 years. He pledged that Japan's public and private sectors would scale up support for Myanmar's efforts to promote democratization, the rule of law, economic reform, and national reconciliation. This consists of three pillars: 1) improvement of people's livelihoods, including assistance for ethnic minorities and people living in poverty, 2) capacity building and institutional development, and 3) construction of infrastructure and related systems necessary for sustainable economic development. All three pillars are important, and JICA aims to keep an appropriate balance between economic development and poverty reduction, urban and rural development, focusing both on short-term gains and long-term results. We believe that this approach will promote inclusive and sustainable growth for Myanmar.

JICA supports this Project because we believe strengthening the function of the Hospital is a basis for providing quality health care to the people of Kayah State. By improving the facility and its equipment, the Hospital will be able to provide better health care locally and improve health care access for residents. JICA is also providing technical cooperation to strengthen the managerial and supervisory capacity of the Kayah State Health Department and the regional network of maternal and child health care services for achieving Universal Health Coverage. By bridging medical services and public health services, we aim to strengthen the health system and health service delivery in Kayah State as a whole.

Finally, I hope that this Project will also strengthen the friendship between Myanmar and Japan. As part of our technical cooperation, more than 30 Japanese experts are scheduled to come to Myanmar in the coming four years to support regional health planning, maternal and child health and monitoring evaluation. We also plan to receive more than 80 Ministry of Health staff from Myanmar in Japan to strengthen their skills and expertise during the same period. These types of exchange programs will be the basis of long-lasting friendship and networking among people in the health sectors of our two countries. I strongly believe this will contribute to closer ties between Myanmar and Japan, not to mention continual improvement of Myanmar's health system.

Today marks the beginning of our joint endeavor to achieve Universal Health Coverage. I am confident that if we work together closely, just as we did during the past year to design this project, we will have great success and will be able to deliver quality health and medical services to the people of Kayah State.

Thank you very much.

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