We are very worried about our women; we have more than 200 pregnant women in our camp. For their delivery they cannot go to a health center and they will have to deliver here … in the mud without a doctor.
Man living in a displaced persons camp in Pauktaw Township, Rakhine State.
Eight months since deadly communal clashes first broke out in Myanmar’s Rakhine State, tens of thousands of people are still unable to access urgently needed medical care. Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) calls on government authorities and community leaders to ensure that all people of Rakhine can live without fear of violence, abuse, and harassment, and that humanitarian organizations can assist those most in need.
That we are prevented from acting and threatened for wanting to deliver medical aid to those in need is shocking and leaves tens of thousands without the medical care they urgently need.
Joe Belliveau, MSF operations manager, on the violence and threats that block access to medical care in Myanmar.
MSF assists people affected by violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine State, but are unable to provide care to many people in need due to ongoing ethnic tensions and threats against MSF staff.
MSF is extremely worried that victims of the clashes are not receiving emergency care, and about the ongoing healthcare needs of our patients. Our immediate concerns are to provide emergency medical services, get food and supplies to people, and ensure our HIV patients continue receiving their lifesaving treatment.
The math is simple. Rapidly scaling up HIV and TB treatment now will prevent further transmission and save both lives and money. Fewer people infected means fewer lives lost, and fewer people in need of treatment. It is critical that donors help Myanmar ensure that more patients across the country receive treatment for HIV and MDR-TB.
Yet again, donors have turned their backs on people living with HIV and TB in Myanmar. Every day we are confronted with the tragic consequences of these decisions: desperately sick people and unnecessary deaths.
It’s very gratifying to see how grateful the patients are for the care and attention we give them. Our input isn’t only medical; it also consists of moral support, as many of the patients are having a hard time and have lost their hope in life. Seeing them regain their confidence and strength is really rewarding.
We go and find them in their villages and offer extra support for them to come back for their appointment, then we follow up and ensure they are taking their drugs correctly, but we also visit patients when they are at a critical point of their treatment or are experiencing side effects and need more support.