The University of Otago will collaborate with the
University of Medicine (1) in Rangoon, Burma as the country
transforms into an ''Asian powerhouse''.
Co-director of the university's Centre for International
Health Prof John Crump said an agreement to work together in
training, research and capacity building had been signed with
the oldest medical school in Burma.
Prof Crump said he had been searching for a collaboration in
Southeast Asia since joining Otago University in 2011 and
chose Burma. ''It's one of the poorer countries in Southeast
Asia and been somewhat isolated for a number of years.''
The collaboration would focus on infectious diseases,
especially the syndrome of fever which was a health issue
with children but could affect any of the more than 60
million residents, he said.
Initially, there would be an exchange involving two
postgraduate students from each university, who would work on
Prof Crump said. The number of students exchanged would
increase over time, he said.
The collaboration would give the Burmese academic staff
access to training in new technical areas, Prof Crump said.
''The academic community in Myanmar [Burma] have not been
able to freely interact with the global community until
The isolation had led to a drop in the ranking of the
''proud'' Burmese health system in Southeast Asia, Prof Crump
''University of Medicine (1) was considered one of the top,
if not the top, medical schools in Southeast Asia but that is
no longer the case today. They are very anxious to get back
to becoming competitive again.''
By partnering with the University of Otago, the University of
Medicine (1) could get ''back on track'' in its efforts to
help Burma achieve better health statistics, he said.
Prof Crump visited Burma last year and believed the
collaboration held significant potential.
''There will be many saving graces. We will be part of the
picture and they also have considerable natural resources,
potential in agriculture and a very motivated population of
people. I suspect Myanmar will rapidly transform itself into
an Asian powerhouse.''