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When Michael Lwin ’09 visited Myanmar in 2009 after graduating from law school, he did not go with the in- tent of founding a company. A first-generation American whose parents left Myanmar for the United States in the 1970s, Lwin was primarily interested in learning more about his roots. During the trip, he connected with his cousin Yar Zar Min Htoo, a doctor and computer scientist, who was deeply critical about the state of the healthcare system in Myanmar at the time—in particular, the state of health care records.
“There are zero electronic records in Myanmar, so if you walk into a clinic or lab, it’s all paper,” Lwin says. After his trip, Lwin stayed in touch with his cousin, and together they founded Koe Koe Tech, based in Yangon, to train local people in computer programming and develop software for the country’s health sector.
“What we’re trying to do is to collect data and consolidate it for doctors making health care decisions,” says Lwin. In addition to creating jobs for the local population and providing data for public health research, the company’s long-term goal is developing a nationwide health information exchange.
In recognition of their achievements, the cousins were recently named co-recipients of a 2014 Echoing Green Global Fellowship (Lauren Burke ’09, profiled in the 2013 NYU Law Magazine and founder of Atlas:DIY, is also a recipient). The fellowship supports emerging social entrepreneurs working to bring about positive social change. Erica Lock, associate director of the Echoing Green fellows program, calls Koe Koe Tech’s mission both important and timely. “Above all,” she says, “Mike’s resounding leadership, passion, and dedication to this work has placed him in an echelon of the highest-potential social entrepreneurs across the globe.”