With continued tension and unrest in Rakhine Sate, Myanmar, Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) is seriously concerned that those people most affected by violence and deep communal divisions, are unable to receive medical treatment.
MSF was forced to suspend most of its medical activities in Rakhine State on June 9 when violence erupted, which put its clinics and staff in danger.
“MSF is extremely worried that victims of the clashes are not receiving emergency care, and about the ongoing healthcare needs of our patients,” said Joe Belliveau, MSF Operations Manager.
“Our immediate concerns are to provide emergency medical services, get food and supplies to people, and get our HIV patients their lifesaving treatment.”
Searching for safe haven
In their effort to find a safe haven, people are trying to flee to southern Bangladesh. MSF is disturbed by reports that the Bangladesh government is denying access to people attempting to flee the violence and seek healthcare across the border. MSF also provides medical services in Bangladesh, and is ready to treat anyone in need of assistance, regardless of their origins.
“People seeking refuge and in need of food, water and medical care should be allowed to cross the border,” continued Belliveau. “In both Myanmar and Bangladesh, MSF is trying to reach those affected by the violence, but they should also be allowed to reach us.”
MSF in Rakhine state
In Rakhine, MSF has been providing medical services for 20 years focusing on maternal health and infectious diseases such as malaria, diarrhoea, HIV/AIDS and TB. In 2011, MSF conducted more than 487,000 consultations, and has over 600 patients on anti-retroviral treatment (ART) for HIV/AIDS. In addition to meeting immediate emergency needs, getting MSF’s regular programmes back on track is critical to the longer-term health and well-being of people from all communities throughout the state.
Myanmar- one of MSF's largest programmes
In all of its activities worldwide, MSF’s sole aim is to ensure that the most vulnerable people - regardless of ethnicity, origin or religion -receive the medical humanitarian assistance they require. MSF’s medical programme in Myanmar is one of its largest anywhere in the world. MSF is the country’s main AIDS treatment provider and has been at the forefront of the fight against malaria.