Diarrhea Kills Nine People in Northernmost Region of Kachin State

Monday, August 17, 2020

Residents of fourteen villages in Putao District are suffering from severe diarrhea, which has recently killed nine people.

The villages are among the 16 total in Pannandin sub-township in Nawng Mung Township—also known as Nogmung.

“The villages are very far apart,” May Ram, a local now in Putao town, told NMG. “I don’t know whether medics will be able to go there. There is no phone service in Pannandin,” she said of Burma’s northernmost town.

She said that locals want people from the health department to provide medical care in the Pannandin area, which is located in the Hkakaborazi region, named for Burma’s highest mountain.

Pannandin local San Lu Ram Seng said that people in the area are largely dependent on herbal remedies for health issues, and that diarrhea has been a problem there for months.

“Diarrhea began affecting in the area in April. It got worse in June and July. Transportation is really difficult in this area. There is no clinic or hospital in the area,” he told NMG. “We cannot do anything here,” he added.

Since June, the area has been affected by regular heavy rainfall, making it difficult to drive to Nawng Mung, both May Ram and San Lu Ram Seng said.

“Nobody can use the road. […] During rainy season, it takes us two weeks to arrive in Nawng Mung,” May Ram said. “Medics cannot come to work in our area. Sometimes government staff arrive in our area at the end of the rainy season. They do not come to our area during the rainy season.”

San Lu Ram Seng said that locals in the area have long asked the Burmese government to provide health services in Pannandin.

“We want the government to open a medical clinic in the Hkakaborazi region. We have always demanded it, because we live so far from other hospitals and clinics. Because of this, we have many difficulties every year,” he told NMG.

Pannandin is seen by locals in Putao District as having some of the lowest access to social services in the region, including education, health and basic development.