Myanmar (Burma): Extending care for malaria and AIDS patients

For this reason, in 1996, MSF started giving malaria patients highly effective artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT). This new therapy cures more patients than older treatments and there is no known resistance to it. During the past year, MSF staff members screened more than 300,000 people for the disease and treated more than 160,000 patients. Providing care for those living with HIV/AIDS is another large part of MSF's medical activities in Myanmar (Burma). MSF started the country's first program using life-extending antiretroviral (ARV) treatment in February 2003 in the capital, Yangon. As of August 2004, 205 people were receiving ARV treatment, including 20 children. The team also treats people with opportunistic infections. An additional 50 patients now obtain ARV treatment from MSF staff in Shan state and 20 more receive this care in Kachin state. A similar ARV treatment program is due to start in September 2004 in Dawei, located in Thaninthyari division. MSF also provides care to pregnant women to prevent mother-to-child transmission of the virus in 14 MSF clinics located around the country. The organization is extending home-based care and adult and pediatric counseling services to support HIV-positive patients and raise awareness about MSF programs. MSF provides maternal and child health care and treats patients suffering from cholera, sexually transmitted infections and tuberculosis in Yangon. Patients with these health problems or HIV/AIDS can also receive needed assistance from MSF in Rakhine, Kachin and Shan states and in Dawei and Myiek districts. Assisting isolated civilians In Rakhine state, the majority of the population is Muslim and they are known as the Rohingyas. This group continues to be persecuted by the authorities and is denied basic civil rights and liberties, most notably the right to move, leaving them essentially trapped within their own villages. MSF aids these civilians by providing primary health care and specifically, treatment for malaria, a common disease in the area. By August 2004, an estimated 35,000 people had received medical assistance. Near the Thai border, in Mon and Karen state, MSF has started giving medical care to villagers who are isolated by the ongoing conflict between rebel groups and government troops. MSF has also begun providing health care to displaced people living in Kayah state, close to the Thai border. MSF has worked in Myanmar since 1992. International Staff: 48 National Staff: 669