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Survey finds 37% of families can’t afford health emergency


More than 35 percent of Myanmar households are not ready to shell out K200,000 (US$130) for emergency health care, according to Asia Foundation’s City Life Survey 2018.

The foundation conducted the survey of 2414 people in 228 wards of Yangon, Mandalay, Monywa, Taunggyi and Mawlamyine cities from September to October 2018.

It said that up to 37pc of Yangon residents can’t afford to save K200,000 for unexpected health problems because they are in the low-income bracket.

“The income of most people who borrow money is barely enough to meet their cost of living. They are unable to save money to use for emergencies, so they borrow from loan companies and financial institutions,” said a manager at a Yangon company that offers financial services and loans.

Low-income families mostly borrow high-interest loans from financial institutions and informal lenders in their communities, who charge up to 20pc interest.

Each household in Yangon city has four or more family members and earns K350,000 to K450,000 a month, the survey said.

More than 63pc of those surveyed agreed that their incomes will not rise in the next five years.

“I borrow money from Aeon and Mahar Bawga. It takes a little time to get a loan. I have borrowed money from lenders in my ward when I need money urgently. They calculate interest on a daily basis,” said U Kyaw Hlaing, who works for a soap business in North Dagon township.

Most people surveyed in the five cities struggle to meet their daily needs as their incomes are not enough.

Of the 2414 respondents, 42pc were unemployed, the survey said.

Source; Myanmar Times

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