GE assistance for Myanmar

News Desk in Bangkok/The Nation
Asia News Network

Bangkok (The Nation/ANN) - The GE Foundation, philanthropic organisation of US conglomerate GE, last year invested more than US$200 million in global community and education needs.

This year, the help is extended to Myanmar through a $7-million commitment to support significant training and capacity-building efforts throughout the country. Specifically, the commitment will focus on strengthening the healthcare system, improving the energy architecture and promoting the development of Myanmar's human capacity.

"While Myanmar has made enormous strides to integrate into the global community and promote economic development, there are key areas where GE and others can partner to build capacity and support Myanmar's future growth. GE is proud to make this commitment to Myanmar's future," said John Rice, GE vice chairman and president and CEO of Global Growth Operations.

In maternal and infant care, the GE Foundation announced it would expand its "Developing Health Globally" programme to include Myanmar. This represents an initial $3-million commitment and, as the programme evolves, the foundation expects to be able to more than double the investment.

The initial work in Myanmar will focus on decreasing the rate of maternal and new-born infection at government-operated, district-level hospitals and clinics, as well as strengthening other aspects of maternal care.

The GE Foundation will partner with the Health Ministry in Myanmar and Jhpiego, an affiliate of Johns Hopkins University, to help develop nations to improve infrastructure and build human capacity.

On the rural healthcare pilot project, GE will supply training, technology and equipment to help reduce maternal and infant mortality rates. This will include the "Rural Kit", comprising handheld ultrasound units (Vscan), infant warmers and LED phototherapy.

The programme is scheduled to launch in August.

In the biomedical-engineer training programme, GE is providing training for 40 Health Ministry participants on the usage of medical devices and the delivery of healthcare.

Meanwhile, GE Power & Water will help develop a master electricity plan for Myanmar.

A leadership training programme is also being launched for public- and private-sector leaders, to include 50 individuals for an intensive two-week programme in the US focusing on the development of leadership skills in business, government and civil society.

An additional 50 local leaders will be given the opportunity to participate in a GE-sponsored ASEAN regional leadership training programme at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore.

The foundation will also be involved in promoting the rule of law in the country. Part of the plan is to sponsor the participation of Myanmar government officials in training on public-procurement best practices, as well as establishing the Myanmar chapter of Transparency International and supporting the rule-of-law and anti-corruption committees set up by the Myanmar government.