In Myanmar, military and police declare war on medics

Jakarta, Indonesia (AP) — A secret clinic broke out and medical workers inside were weeping.

Hidden in a Myanmar monastery, this safe haven was created for the injured while protesting the overthrow of the government by the military. But now security forces have discovered the location.

A bullet struck the throat while a young man was guarding the door. Medical staff desperately tried to stop the bleeding.

In Myanmar, the military declared war on health care and the doctors themselves, who were early and fierce opponents of the February acquisition. Security forces have arrested, attacked, and killed health workers, calling them national enemies. The country’s already fragile health care system is collapsing as healthcare workers are driven underground in a pandemic.

“Military junta is deliberately targeting the entire health system as a weapon of war,” said a Yangonian doctor who was arrested during an attack by a colleague in an underground clinic and fled for several months. “We believe that treating patients by doing humanitarian work is a moral task … I didn’t think it would be blamed as a crime.”

In the clinic, a young man whose throat was shot faded. A minute later he died.

One of the clinic’s medical students, whose names like the names of several doctors were withheld to protect her from retaliation, began to cry. She had never seen anyone shot.

Now she was in danger too. Protesters broke windows to allow medical workers to escape.

“I cry every day from that day,” says the medical student.

The suffering caused by the military hijacking of 54 million people in the country was unforgiving. Security forces killed at least 890 people, including a 6-year-old girl who shot her stomach, according to the Political Prisoners Support Association, which monitors arrests and deaths in Myanmar.About 5,100 people have been detained Thousands have disappeared.. Army and police known as Tatmadaw are back The corpse was amputated by the family as a tool for terrorism.

Among all the atrocities, among the most respected occupations in Myanmar, attacks on military medical care have caused certain anger. Myanmar is currently one of the most dangerous places on earth for healthcare professionals, with 240 attacks this year, almost half of the 508 being tracked by the World Health Organization. It’s much higher than any country.

“This is a group of people who support the right thing and confront decades of human rights abuses in Myanmar,” said Raha Walla, advocate for the US-based Physicians for Human Rights. I am. “Tatmadaw is terrible at using all the means necessary to crush their basic rights and freedoms.”

The military issued arrest warrants to 400 doctors and 180 nurses. They are responsible for supporting and participating in the “civil disobedience” movement.

Since February 1, at least 157 health care workers have been arrested, 32 injured and 12 dead, according to Insecurity Insight, which analyzes conflicts around the world.

Myanmar medical personnel and their supporters claim that these assaults violate international law, attacking healthcare workers and patients, and denying their care based on political parties. That is illegal.

“In protests in other countries, healthcare professionals are safe. They are exempt. There is no exemption here,” said a general practitioner who has been in operation since February and is now secretly providing care. Dr. Nay Lin Tun says.

Medics are highly respected and well-organized and are therefore targeted by the military. Healthcare workers quit their jobs in military-owned facilities a few days after the military expelled democratically elected leaders, including Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, from power.

The military responded by beating medical workers and stealing supplies. Security forces have occupied at least 51 hospitals since the acquisition, according to Insecurity Insight, Physicians for Human Rights, and the Johns Hopkins Center for Public Health and Human Rights.

The military has accused doctors of genocide for not treating patients, despite being accused of genocide against a minority of Rohingya Muslims in the country.

A military spokesperson only answered the Associated Press question by sending an article accusing him of suspected fraudulent elections on national issues. Suu Kyi’s party won the November election in a landslide, and independent pollsters found it to have few serious problems.

Healthcare crackdowns are hitting vulnerable systems during critical times. Even before the acquisition, Myanmar had 6.7 doctors per 10,000 in 2018, according to the World Bank. This is well below the 2017 global average of 15.6.

Currently, COVID-19 testing has plummeted, vaccination programs have been stalled, and former chief Dr. Htar Htar Lin was charged with treason in June. COVID spreads rapidly along Myanmar’s porous borders with Bangladesh, India and Thailand, astonishing health professionals.

The war with doctors has severely affected people in need of medical care, especially young people.

Under a tarpaulin in the rain-struck jungle, Naing Li stared at her firstborn, only five days old. The newborn’s breathing became difficult and his little body felt like fire.

She couldn’t do anything. Her husband returned to their village in western Myanmar and fought the advancing soldiers. There was no doctor to help.

According to UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund, the baby is one of about 600,000 newborns without basic care and is at risk of illness, disability and death. One million children have lost their regular immunity. Over 40,000 people have not been treated for malnutrition.

Desperately, Naing Li risked going home. But when she arrived, she found her husband struck on the back by debris.

The couple had no choice but to see their son run away. He died in his mother’s arms a few hours later.

This is annoying the caretakers of the sick and injured in the country. Those who could have been saved if they had not been attacked.

“If I had a chance, I could have stopped bleeding, saved the patient, and prevented death. It hurts,” says a Yangon doctor. “The dying people are not just people. They are the future generations of our country.”


Gelineau reported from Sydney.


The Associated Press’s Department of Health Sciences is supported by the Department of Science Education at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. AP is solely responsible for all content.

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