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Outrage on healthcare

Such heartrending stories abound. The suffering caused by the military’s takeover of a country with a population of 54 million has been relentless.

Statesman News Service | New Delhi |

Myanmar is in crisis, ignited by the Rohingya predicament and exacerbated by the military’s coup against Aung San Suu Kyi in February. It has now escalated beyond measure by the surgical strike, so to speak, on the healthcare system ~ a cruel exercise by the military and the police.

The country bears witness to three-pronged turmoil and it shall not be easy for the Tatmadaw (military) to shore up its image in the perspective of the world. The embattled country is gradually sliding towards anarchy.

A clandestine clinic was under fire, and the medics inside were in tears. Hidden away in a monastery, this safe haven had sprung up for those injured while protesting against the military’s overthrow of the government.

Security forces have now discovered its location. This is but one grievous example of an attack on healthcare. A bullet struck a young man in the throat as he defended the door, and the medical staff tried frantically to stop the hemorrhaging. The floor was splattered with blood.

In Myanmar, the military has declared war on healthcare, pre-eminently doctors, who have been fierce opponents of the takeover. The calibrated offensive lends a hideous dimension to man’s inhumanity to man, that has been brutally manifest since February. Security forces are arresting, attacking and killing medical workers, dubbing them as “enemies of the state”.

With medics driven underground amidst the global pandemic, the country’s already fragile healthcare system is crumbling.

The junta is purposely targeting the whole healthcare system as a weapon of war, said a Yangon doctor who has been on the run for months.His colleagues at an underground clinic were arrested during a raid.

“We believe that treating patients, doing our humanitarian job, is a moral job. I didn’t think that it would be described as a crime,” said the doctor. Inside the clinic that day, the young man shot in the throat was fading.

His sister wailed. A minute later, he was dead.

Such heartrending stories abound. The suffering caused by the military’s takeover of a country with a population of 54 million has been relentless.

Security forces have killed at least 890 people, including a 6-year-old girl they shot in the stomach, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, which monitors arrests and deaths in Myanmar.

Around 5,100 people are in detention and thousands have disappeared.

The military and police have returned mutilated corpses to families as tools of terror. Amidst all the atrocities, the military’s attacks on medics, one of the most revered professions in Myanmar, have sparked outrage. Myanmar is now one of the most dangerous places in the world for healthcare.