YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — Myanmar has contracted to buy more than two dozen CT scan machines as an increased budget and easing of Western sanctions allows it to upgrade its ailing public health system.
The local agent for General Electric's health care division, Win Zaw Aung, said Saturday that the health ministry will buy 22 CT scan machines and four CT simulators for training, according to the results of a recent tender.
GE announced Thursday that it has contracted to sell seven CT machines for use in public hospitals in Yangon and other cities in a deal worth about $5 million.
Myanmar's health care system was considered among the region's worst under the previous military government, whose own leaders would fly to Singapore for critical medical care. A reformist elected government that took power last year has increased the health budget fourfold for the 2012-13 fiscal year.
The political and economic reform measures undertaken by the government of President Thein Sein are intended to revive a moribund economy after five decades of repressive military rule that estranged Myanmar from many Western nations.
Thein Sein's political reforms, including reconciliation with democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, have convinced Western nations to lift most of the sanctions they had imposed against the previous military government.
In the case of the United States, this allowed companies such as GE that had been banned from doing most business in Myannar to re-enter the market. GE announced that it has already sold two CT scan units to private hospitals in Myanmar since sanctions were eased.