Military Council Forces MSF To Suspend Life-saving Programs in Taninthari Region

By Network Media Group
Tuesday, June 15, 2021

The military council ordered Medicines Sans Frontiers (MSF) to suspend its activities in Dawei Township, a move that will impact the lives of thousands reliant on its programs in southern Burma.

Future Light Supporting Team, which works with MSF in Taninthari Region, said without its support patients living with HIV may not receive daily medicine they need to stay alive. Its director Zaw Tun explained that some of his patients have HIV, TB and Hepatitis C. “Some are waiting to receive antiretroviral therapy (ART) and their lives are in danger.”

Suspension of MSF services threatens the lives of 2,000 HIV and TB patients, MSF said on its website.

MSF mainly provides medicine to patients who can’t receive it from the government, Zaw Tun said, and this includes more than 300 children living with HIV. If they don’t get ART, he said they might not make survive.

According to MSF, the order will prevent it from providing mental consultation and accepting new HIV patients.

Since MSF started offering medicine and protection for HIV patients in the Taninthari Region in 2004 the fatality rate for those with HIV/AIDS has dramatically reduced.

No one knows why the military regime decided to suspend MSF’s programs. Future Light Support Team and its HIV patients released a statement on June 10 asking the government to reconsider its suspension.

World Vision Myanmar, Child Fund Myanmar, Norwegian Refugee Council in Myanmar, World War Life Fund, and Mines Advisory Group Myanmar were also ordered to stop operations on June 8.