Myanmar: MSF to Resume HIV/AIDS and Other Activities in Kachin, Shan and Yangon, but Concerns Remain

Chris Huby

Yangon/New York, March 1, 2014 -- On February 27, Médecins Sans Frontières Holland (MSF) received a written order from the Union Government of Myanmar to cease all operations in the country, which led to a full closure of all MSF Holland clinics on February 28. This act left patients confused and desperately concerned across the whole country.

After dialogue with the Union Government in Naypyitaw on February 28, MSF has now been informed by the Minister of Health and the Minister of Home Affairs that it can resume part of the activities as covered by the organization's original Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), on Monday, March 3. This includes HIV/AIDS and other activities in Kachin and Shan states, as well as Yangon region.

While MSF is encouraged by this and will resume these activities for now, MSF remains extremely concerned about the fate of tens of thousands of vulnerable people in Rakhine state who currently face a humanitarian medical crisis. MSF Holland clinics in Rakhine remain closed since February 27, following a verbal communication from the Rakhine State authorities to suspend its activities.

Prior to the suspension, MSF carried out a variety of activities in nine townships across in Rakhine, treating anyone who was unable to access medical care. All MSF services are provided based on medical need only, regardless of ethnicity, religion or any other factor. MSF looks forward to continuing the dialogue with the Union Government to ensure that essential life-saving services continue to reach those that need them.

AZG (the Dutch branch of Doctors Without Borders) is the sole organisation that takes care of HIV-infected people in Burma. Free distribution of tritherapy treatments begun 10 years ago.
Chris Huby