Amsterdam, 28 February 2014 - Médecins Sans Frontières Holland (MSF) has been ordered by the Union Government of Myanmar to cease all activities in the country. MSF is deeply shocked by this unilateral decision and extremely concerned about the fate of tens of thousands of patients currently under our care across the country.
Today, for the first time in MSF’s history of operations in the country, HIV/AIDS clinics in Rakhine, Shan and Kachin states, as well as Yangon division, were closed and patients were unable to receive the treatment they needed. TB patients were unable to receive their life-saving medicine, including drug-resistant TB patients.
This decision by the Union Government will have a devastating impact on the 30,000 HIV/AIDS patients and more than 3,000 TB patients we are currently treating in Myanmar.
In Rakhine state, MSF was unable to provide basic healthcare to the tens of thousands of vulnerable people in camps displaced by the ongoing humanitarian crisis or in isolated villages. This includes facilitating life-saving referrals for patients that require emergency secondary hospital care to Ministry of Health facilities, as well as family planning and care for pregnant women and newborn babies.
There is no other medical non-government organisation that operates at the scale of MSF with the experience and infrastructure to deliver necessary life-saving medical services.
22 years of presence
In our 22 years of presence in Myanmar, MSF has proven that we deliver healthcare to people based solely on need, irrespective of race, religion, gender, HIV status or political affiliation.
Since 2004, MSF has treated over 1,240,000 malaria patients in Rakhine state alone, where the disease is particularly endemic. Like HIV/AIDS and TB, malaria knows no ethnic boundaries.
MSF’s actions are guided by medical ethics and the principles of neutrality and impartiality. MSF is in discussions with the Government of Myanmar to allow our staff to resume life-saving medical activities across the country and continuing addressing the unmet heath needs of its people.