World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


MSF prevented from reaching communities in Rahine, Myanmar



Médecins Sans Frontières prevented from reaching most communities affected by violence in Rakhine State, Myanmar
Scale up in provision of medical care urgently needed


Amsterdam/Yangon, 5 November 2012 – As Médecins Sans Frontières medical teams work to reach communities affected by the violence in Rakhine State they face ongoing antagonism generated by deep ethnic divisions. In addition thousands of patients benefiting from longer-term primary health care programmes are cut off from medical services as many of Médecins Sans Frontières’ activities have been suspended since June.

In the past few days Médecins Sans Frontières teams, working together with the government and other international and national humanitarian organisations, have assessed the medical needs of thousands of people newly displaced by violence near the city of Sittwe and the surrounding townships. These joint teams have provided some food, water and emergency health assistance, but having lost their homes and resources many people are extremely vulnerable and their health status could deteriorate quickly. Ongoing animosity, aimed partially at organisations like Médecins Sans Frontières wishing to provide assistance, makes it increasingly difficult to support the Ministry of Health to run already overstretched clinics and reach out to newly displaced communities.

‘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’ , says Médecins Sans Frontières’ Operations Manager, Joe Belliveau.

The disruption also extends to Médecins Sans Frontières’ longer-term activities. The planned opening of a new health centre in Sittwe town to provide primary health care including AIDS treatment was postponed last week in the face of protests. Further, if disrupted drug supplies to Médecins Sans Frontières’ malaria treatment centres in the rural townships of Kyauk Taw, Minbya and Paletwa are not resumed quickly the number of untreated malaria cases will rise rapidly as the peak of the malaria season approaches

In Rakhine State Médecins Sans Frontières has been running one of its largest medical programmes worldwide for nearly 20 years. Since 2005 Médecins Sans Frontières treated more than a million people for malaria, and provided primary healthcare, TB and HIV/AIDS treatment, and maternal health services. Its patients hail from all ethnic and religious groups in Rakhine. But since the outbreak of violence in June Médecins Sans Frontières is operating at a fraction of its capacity due to access limitations largely stemming from threats and intimidation. Tens of thousands of long-term residents, previously receiving medical care, have gone without for months.


‘Médecins Sans Frontières could do much more to assist the recently displaced, those already in temporary camps and longer-term residents who have been cut off from medical services for far too long but antagonism from some groups prevents us from doing so,’ continues Belliveau.


A scale up in the provision of medical care to all affected in Rakhine State is urgently needed. Médecins Sans Frontières therefore calls for unhindered access and for tolerance of the provision of medical care to all those who need it.

------------------------------


Médecins Sans Frontières has worked in Myanmar's Rakhine State since 1994. Its medical activities focus on primary healthcare, with specific emphasis on reproductive health, malaria, HIV and TB.


In 2011, Médecins Sans Frontières conducted 487.000 consultations. Of these nearly 75,000 were treated for malaria and nearly 24,000 were related to maternal health. Médecins Sans Frontières has also been providing life-saving ART treatment to over 600 AIDS patients. Médecins Sans Frontières has around 300 employees in Rakhine, but due to the prevention of our activities job losses are inevitable.


ENDS


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

As Health Needs Rise In Somalia, Funding Hits New Low

As health needs rise in Somalia, funding hits new low, cutting off 1.5 million from care – UN More>>

Need To End Violence Against Children In Conflict

‘We should be outraged’ more not being done to end violence against children in conflict – UNICEF chief More>>

On Mandela Day, UN Joins Call To Promote Community Service

Nelson Mandela, then Deputy President of the African National Congress of South Africa, raises his fist in the air while addressing the Special Committee Against Apartheid in the General Assembly Hall. UN Photo/P. Sudhakaran More>>

Some $3.2 Billion Needed For Ebola Recovery Efforts

Some $3.2 billion needed for Ebola recovery efforts in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone – UN More>>

World Day: UN Spotlights Plight Of Vulnerable Populalations

Syrian refugees fleeing the fighting near the Syrian city of Kobani wait in a holding area before boarding buses in Turkey (September 2014). Photo: UNHCR /I. Prickett More>>

Afghanisatan: Direct Talks Between Government And Taliban

The United Nations Security Council has welcomed the recently held direct talks between Afghan Government and Taliban representatives as a step towards “peace and reconciliation” in the region. More>>

Eradicating World Hunger By 2030

Agriculture workers collect carrots on a farm in Chimaltenango, Guatemala. Photo: World Bank/Maria Fleischmann More>>

Bangladesh: Flood Leads To UN Agency Providing Food Relief

Anwar Hossain unloads cartons of High Energy Biscuits from a pickup truck and transfers them to a distribution center in Kawar Khop union, Ramu upazila, Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Photo: WFP/Kamrul Mithon More>>

Ban Says World Must Act Now To Curb Climate Change

Alarmed by melting glacier in Norway, Ban says world must 'act now' to curb climate change More>>

UN Spotlights Data And Technology As Key To Sustainability

The importance of quality data and cutting edge information communication technologies (ICTs) is increasingly critical to the shaping of the future sustainable development agenda, the head of the United Nations Development Programme ( UNDP ) confirmed today. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news