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Editorial

Myanmar’s medical make-up

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By EMN Updated: Aug 30, 2013 10:18 pm
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[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he District Immunization Officer (DIO) posted at Moreh has submitted a memorandum to Governor Dr Ashwini Kumar during the latter’s visit on August 27. He urged necessary help so that health officials can utilize the Myanmar road to reach 40 border villages in Manipur’s Chandel district earlier and achieve the ultimate goal of NRHM (National Rural Health Mission)
Regular free health camps and routine immunization programme for needy individuals especially children in these border villages are being adversely affected since the Myanmar Immigration Office in Tamu has denied permission to travel on its roads from July this year.
Earlier, Manipur health officials were permitted to travel on Myanmar roads for regular health programmes at border villages of New Somtal and Yangoulen in Chandel district bordering western Myanmar’s Sagaing Division. Officials of the public health centre (PHC) located at the border town of Moreh were supposed to move to the border villages through the Myanmar road which would entail just an hour to reach the nearest one. Now with the ban, it would take two to three days going from the Indian side.
Public health in Manipur has reportedly improved and death rate of infants, maternity mortality and neo-natal mortality has been reduced tremendously as a result of implementation of the NRHM. This entailed engaging 36 medical officers, 801 medical staff, 86 AYUSH doctors and 137 nurses in 97 PHCs in the State.
It is sometimes incomprehensible as to why Myanmar should prevent use of its roads to facilitate Manipur health officials to reach the border villages sooner particularly when it concerns health matters.
As it is Myanmar is trying to convince the world at large that it is gradually transforming into a viable democracy despite certain setbacks. Communal clashes between the Buddhist Rakhines and Muslim Rohingyas and military spectre albeit in the shadows aside, the country is resource rich and owes a great deal to China which has invested tremendously in the industrialization sector—and perhaps not a little in its policies as well.
Its veering towards democracy is also to have the numerous sanctions that the world in general has imposed on it due to its rule by the military junta and subsequent decades of human rights violation, lifted. Towards this end, Myanmar has still a long way to go and perhaps the recognition of Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi has helped to some extent. Yet full democracy will take more than just development. The many ethnic groups have to be once more placated and persuaded that the country has to restart the way it did to become one nation in 1948 and thus be reborn.
Just the other day, a Chinese hospital ship, dubbed “Peace Ark” docked at Thilawa Port in Rangoon Division and was formally and ceremoniously received by the Burmese high and mighty, Rangoon-based Chinese national and Chinese diplomatic corps.
Chinese doctors and nurses would provide medical treatment, including Chinese traditional treatments, for Burmese people on board the ship. Physicians and would also be sent to Rangoon’s (Yangon”s) Chinatown where reside a substantial number of ethnic Chinese. Though on an eight-country itinerary, Thilawa will remain the main port of call of the “Peace Ark.”
Myanmar’s reason(s) for refusing use of its road is yet to be ascertained but hopefully, it will reconsider allowing Manipur’s health officials to use the shorter route to reach Chandel district border villages soon.

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By EMN Updated: Aug 30, 2013 10:18:25 pm