Combining both passion and professional expertise, Dr. Nyi Nyi Zaw is helping change the field of hospital management for the better. In Myanmar, the hospital management industry is booming and has room to improve and grow. We sat down with Dr. Nyi Nyi Zaw to ask more about his work and what motivates him. His answers and his personal story, we believe, will inspire our readers.

DeBoer Fellowship (DF) staff: Why are you in this field of work?
Dr. Nyi Nyi Zaw: During the second semester of my final year of medical school, I realized that I prefer to work in the operations and management side of healthcare more than being on the clinical side. I began working in a public health program at a few international non-governmental organizations after I graduated from the University of Medicine 2, Yangon.  Throughout my time at various INGOs, I had exposure working in government liaison, collaboration, advocacy, pharmacy and financial management roles. I worked for such programs until I got a chance to work in the hospital management field. Since 2018, I have been working in healthcare management field.

DF staff: What motivates you to do what you do?
Dr. Nyi Nyi Zaw: In previous times, there were only a few professionals in the field of hospital management. Because we don’t have hospital management specialization at schools and universities in our country, most people who were working in hospital management were those with professional clinical backgrounds. During the last five years, however, hospital management specialization has become an increasingly popular field in Myanmar. Even still, there is a huge need to be filled, especially in the private hospitals. These needs are what motivate me to be in this field.

DF staff: How do you get satisfaction from your work?
Dr. Nyi Nyi Zaw: I always say this to my colleagues: we must always be alert even in off-duty times as we work in an industry that has to be running around the clock. Patients’ demands keep increasing and there are often communication challenges, issues surrounding patient satisfaction, and the need to negotiate between patients and healthcare organizations that must be attended. To be honest, I get satisfaction from my work whenever I am able to help solve those issues that patients and organizations face.

DF staff: What are some of the most challenging things you encounter at your work?
Dr. Nyi Nyi Zaw: In our industry, we have to keep not only our patients but the employees and specialists satisfied with our work. In the field of hospital management, we have a triangle approach – a collaboration between hospital management, healthcare professionals and patients – which is different from other sectors. The specialists are not just our employees; in fact, they provide their special services through us. We facilitate and provide specialists with a system through which they can provide their services.

Another challenge is managing for our employees’ capacity. In this demanding industry, no matter how good the technology, a hospital can’t achieve excellence in care if the staff capacity is poor. Therefore, we regularly conduct trainings and/or capacity building programs like quality control, infection control and personal development programs for our staff.

DF staff: How do you stay sharp in your hospital management industry?
Dr. Nyi Nyi Zaw: I personally believe that we have to constantly observe both the regional and global trends so we can improve our management styles and techniques. As a team, we conduct field surveys to discover what are the needs of our customers in the region. Then, we seek to find a solution, set strategic goals, and take necessary actions to meet their needs. Our entire team takes great effort to stay sharp and alert so that we can provide timely and quality services for our customers.

DF staff: How does your community or customers benefit from what you do?
Dr. Nyi Nyi Zaw: We always try to give quality care within an affordable price. We also extend health education through mobile clinics and community programs to areas that have less access. For example, we regularly conduct free surgery for people with cleft lip and cleft palate with the support of Smile Train program. We have received high recommendations and support from the community and plan to keep offering this service.

In my free time during 2016, I co-founded a technology platform, Myanmar Medical Online Campus (MMOC). I continue to act as a facilitator for participants to enroll in healthcare related certificates and diploma courses from our affiliated University and Institute. Dr. Nay Lin Tun, DeBoer Lifelong Fellow ’16, and I are now planning for MMOC to become an upgraded online learning platform as a social service for the people from healthcare sector in Myanmar.

DF staff: How has your DeBoer Fellowship experience impacted your life and career?
Dr. Nyi Nyi Zaw: As part of DeBoer Fellowship, I met people across different sectors with various expertise. Being surrounded by people who are passionate about working for the betterment of their community gave me inspiration and motivation to keep doing good. It also showed me that others beyond the medical field are contributing to our community’s well-being.

In addition, DeBoer Fellowship has helped me extend my network. As I mentioned above, I met co-founder of MMOC, Dr. Nay Lin Tun at the fellowship events. Another example of how DeBoer Fellowship has expanded my network and has positively impacted the community is when, in 2019, I contacted Dr. May Zaw Naing, DeBoer Lifelong Fellow ’15. I reached out to Dr. May Zaw Naing to incorporate her company’s psychological counseling services, Citta Consultancy, to our Mandalar Clinic and has been implemented successfully.

DF staff: How do you understand values and integrity in the context of your life and work?
Dr. Nyi Nyi Zaw: I have to say that DeBoer Fellowship has empowered me to realize my values and to follow those both in my personal and professional lives. There is a medical ethic that states “Do no harm” and I feel that DeBoer Fellows are practicing just that for the community in their own ways and with their own values. Within the DeBoer Fellowship network, I often meet Fellows with a high degree of integrity who are visionaries in their own field of work.

Dr. Nyi Nyi Zaw is a 2016 DeBoer Fellow. He currently works as the General Manager at Myat Taw Win Hospital in Taunggyi. A graduate of University of Medicine-2, he previously worked in the public health sector, mainly in the remote areas of Myanmar on malaria, tuberculosis and primary healthcare programs. Dr. Nyi Nyi Zaw earned an MBA degree from University of Bedfordshire (UK) in Hospital and Health Services Management. An avid learner, he recently started attending Harvard Medical School, Southeast Asia Healthcare Leadership Program in 2020. He has been actively involved in the DeBoer Lifelong Fellows Council since 2017.

2 responses to “SPOTLIGHT SERIES: Dr. Nyi Nyi Zaw”

  1. Ei Ei Aung says:

    Congratulations Ko Nyi. I found out that gap when I worked in health care industry It was very difficult to handle. Now it become more awareness and people like you are trying to fill that gap. Good news for Myanmar health care industry.

  2. Peter Dove says:

    Thanks for this interview. Insightful and thoughtful. I really enjoyed it.

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