NEW YORK, JULY 9, 2019—The international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) transferred its patients at an HIV clinic in Insein township, Yangon, to the care of Myanmar’s National AIDS Program (NAP). The closure of the Insein clinic represents a milestone for MSF and illustrates the country’s growing capacity to provide quality care and antiretroviral (ARV) treatment for people living with HIV.
The Insein clinic—which opened in 2014 and closed on June 27 with approximately 2,400 people still in treatment—is one of two clinics that make up MSF’s Yangon HIV project, which has been running since 2003. The clinic provided treatment to more than 12,000 people, and the Yangon project as a whole has provided treatment for more than 17,000 HIV-positive people, many from outside the region. MSF became the first provider of ARV treatment in Myanmar in 2003 with its Yangon and Kachin projects and for some time ran the largest HIV treatment program in the country, where approximately 220,000 people were living with HIV in 2017.
“At the Insein clinic, we built a community where people received high quality treatment in an environment free from stigma or judgement,” said Pavlo Kolovos, MSF’s head of mission in Myanmar. “The clinic exemplified a dignified standard of care, providing an example to follow and a standard for HIV care providers to meet.”
The care provided at MSF’s Insein clinic—and at all of MSF’s HIV treatment clinics in Myanmar—was comprehensive and patient-centered. Counseling was an integral element, particularly in the pre- and post-testing phases. Counselors also helped patients adhere to their treatment, especially vulnerable groups such as adolescents, sex workers, and drug users.