Inadequate Medical Supplies in Arakan Spell Looming Health Crisis for Children

Narinjara News

The number of children who have been suffering from tropical diseases such as malaria, dengue fever, and hepatitis has increased, and the limited medicinal supply has not been helping the problem, says one health worker from Akyab Hospital.

Since 19 November, there have been about 300 children hospitalized in Akyab Hospital, in Arakan State, due to malaria and dengue fever, and jaundice caused by complications of malaria, reports a medical officer from the hospital.

Most of the children are from the outlying cities of the state, such as Kyauktaw, Mrauk U, Ponna Gyan, Rathidaung, and Pauktaw. Since local hospitals in those cities are facing a grave shortage of medicine, these children are transferred to the state's capital hospital, said the same medical officer.

However, the situation is not much better at Akyab Hospital, since medical supplies are low and staff numbers are insufficient to deal with the large number of patients.

The acting head medical officer of the hospital, Dr. Khine Myo Lwin, has sent a request for a solution to these problems to the higher authorities and is awaiting their response. Many medical professionals in the state, however, are not very optimistic about the prospect of help, since the Burmese junta generally does not care about the well-being of the people, says a senior medical officer.

A private medical supplier says medicine produced in Burma and used in the government operated hospitals are of substandard quality and aren't effective in curing many critical diseases, including diarrhea.

It is reported that there are at least 1,000 people from 25 villages who are suffering from diarrhea in Min Bya Township, without any medical assistance.

Low capacity of medical officers and limited supplies of medicine, along with the high prices of privately supplied medicine, mean that many patients are not recovering from these curable diseases and are facing unnecessary death.