Narinjara news




Maungdaw, 23rd January 02: Doctors from AZG, the Danish Doctors without Boundaries, have been treating the patients of recent outbreak of malaria and diarrhoea in the northern Maungdaw township of the western Rakhine State of Myanmar since December 23, an unnamed source in the township administration confirmed.

Since the second week of November last year, the outbreak of malaria and diarrhoea in the district has taken an alarming turn. Mr Hugh Price, a British doctor, and the Project Coordinator of AZG Mr Stuart James Bell, an American, led a medical team and treated patients at Kha-maung-cheik village, where the outbreak has been the worst.

 From January 3 the team treated patients at Mrung-hlwett village in the southern part of Maungdaw. With a large number of malarial patients, many of who were suffering from drug-resistant type of malaria, the team could hardly cope with the huge number of patients. The group also found that, there was little or no medical treatment available at the government hospitals and dispensaries.

As the government-owned Burma Pharmaceutical Industry, the lone high-quality drug manufacturer in Myanmar can not supply the adequate amount of medicine in the market, the black market trade in smuggled medicine from India and Bangladesh covers about 95% of the entire medicine market. Even in the black market the medicines are scarce and the prices exorbitant. A tablet of Paracetamol (an analgesic) sells at kyat 25

in the black market while a day labourer is paid a maximum of kyat 500 a day. Local people have also alleged that this year there have been a number of deaths from malaria and diarrhoea in the area. Though malaria is rampant in the area the Myanmarese junta have never taken any steps to either check the spread of the disease or treat the patients in government hospitals and dispensaries in Rakhine State. The drug-resistant type of malaria has now crossed the border from Rakhine State to the nearby Chittagong Hills in the south-eastern part of Bangladesh, it is also alleged. #