Following Myanmar’s military coup on 1 February, our teams in Myanmar have been working hard to maintain access to those most vulnerable.
Our medical activities are ongoing, and we are committed to continuing our care to those most in need.
From the onset of the crisis, we have been preparing our emergency team in Myanmar so that we could act when the medical demands on the ground overwhelmed the country's capacity to respond.
February 28 was one of the most violent days in Myanmar since the start of the recent military coup, with at least 18 reported deaths. On the same day MSF’s Emergency Preparation Team—known as E-Prep—started responding in Yangon to assess the needs at protest sites. MSF E-Prep teams consist of medical staff and counsellors and provide support and donations of supplies to local medical facilities during times of crisis.
Our clinics in Lashio received and treated four casualties with minor injuries due to the protests. Dawei, in south eastern Myanmar, has also seen violent confrontations and casualties over the last days. MSF teams are aiming to support community initiatives with donations of medical supplies and first aid kits, and are also reinforcing measures to manage injuries and casualties. MSF teams also want to ensure that the care for our HIV patients is not interrupted as a result of wider disruptions in public health services.
We are seeing an increasing number of HIV-positive patients returning to refill medicines and seek medical consultations at the MSF clinics where they were originally treated before the National Aids Program (NAP) was handed over to the Ministry of Health and Sport last year. We also have new patients arriving in our clinics, as currently the NAP is not functioning. In addition, as many of the public hospitals in Myanmar are closed, we are finding it difficult to refer patients to larger hospitals for specialised treatment.
We are mindful of the effects of the coup on both our staff and patients and are doing what we can to minimise the risks that have arisen as result.
While our activities in Rakhine are running, the Rohingya population—especially those living in displacement sites—remain particularly vulnerable to disruptions to medical services, having suffered decades of neglect, discrimination, violence and persecution.
We emphasise that in all circumstances, and regardless of age, religion or political affiliation, our priority is the provision of care for our patients. We will continue to deliver impartial medical care to the most vulnerable people to the best of our capacity and while access and circumstances still allow for the provision of care.