MSc Management Dissertation
1.1 Focus and Motivation of the Research
Standing on the crossroads of Asia with rich endowments of natural resources (Chhor et al.,
2013), Myanmar used to be one of Asia’s most important economies in the 1960s (OECD,
2014). However, the junta’s decades of foreign sanctions, economic stagnation and selfsufficiency
hindered the development of national healthcare network (Dittmer, 2010).
Consequently, the majority of Myanmar population in rural areas (approximately 70% of
60 million) have limited access to adequate healthcare services (Saw et al., 2013).
“…the labels ‘pariah’ or ‘isolationist’, which are conferred frequently on
Myanmar, makes sense only in a specific context of time and space”
(Alamgir, 2010, p.233).
As a basis of the economic development initiated from political reforms into democracy
during 2000 (IMF, 2013), the new government has recognised the importance of universal
access to healthcare (Ministry-of-Health, 2013).
Here, Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) would act as a catalyst to
stimulate Myanmar’s developmental catch-up plans to leapfrog the intermediate stages of
the conventional bricks-and-mortar route in other principal industries including healthcare.
E-health is simply defined by WHO (2012) as using ICT for health. One of its most widely2
applicable categories in less-developed countries (LDCs), ‘m-health’, will improve
healthcare services as a nationwide-accessible tool by overcoming geographical boundaries.
Rural patients can consult urban medical professionals via a real-time information system
(Martin and Vogt, 2013).
All these reasons motivated the author, who is also a doctor and interested in
entrepreneurship in implementing m-health in Myanmar. Being a socially and academically
gratifying topic, this research was undertaken. The paper explores the entrepreneurial
opportunities for a new venture to fulfil the health needs of poor Myanmar inhabitants with
the promise of m-health.