Tuesday, April 23rd 2024

Closure of Maungdaw hospital leaves residents including pregnant women with no access to healthcare

 The closure of Maungdaw township hospital in Rakhine State has created significant hardships for local residents including  pregnant women, said Maungdaw residents.


A nurse said that its closure caused difficulties for pregnant women, who need  caesarean deliveries, including those with previous caesarean births, to access necessary medical care.


"For women who have undergone OGs and C-sections, it's time for another C-section. During this period, a natural birth is not feasible. Attempting natural childbirth without a C-section can lead to risking their lives," she added.

Currently, several staff members from Maungdaw hospital have left the town. Only a few nurses remain to offer medical assistance to their acquaintances. However, due to the inability to conduct surgeries, the pregnant women are encountering serious challenges, she asserted.


"If you fall ill, there are no hospitals, clinics or doctors available here. We have to purchase and consume medicines from pharmacies, which are very costly. With closed roads, the cost of everything has risen alarmingly," said a conscious Maungdaw resident.


The nurse also mentioned that due to the shortage of medicine, most women of Maungdaw are finding it difficult to obtain birth control injection & pills.


"Nowadays, even a single Depo 3-month injection costs Kyats 30,000. Only 7 or 8 remain  available at a time," she stated.


An  HIV infected person  mentioned that since the hospital is closed, they are not getting the antiretroviral therapy (ART) drugs which is needed. Otherwise their health condition will only



"I have been taking ART for more than ten years. Previously, I obtained ART from MSF, but since 2014, they have transferred the supply to government hospitals. Consequently, I relied on the hospital for medication. Now that the hospital is closed, I am unable to access medicines. Now I am living with medicines obtained from nearby pharmacies. I also approached MSF, but I couldn't get it," added the person.


The military junta's decision to block the flow of goods (including medicines) and even shutting down the hospital is being criticized by local residents saying that it’s a human rights violation.


"We demand to reopen the roads for supplying medications from Sittwe. This is a violation of human rights and akin to killing people without any way to escape," added a conscious resident.


The said hospital was closed permanently on 4 March and all the staff were  transferred to Sittwe. The township general administrator assured that the hospital will be reopened on 9 March, but the staff remained reluctant to return to office as there are  no doctors available in the hospital.


"If a doctor from the State health ministry arrives, the staff will return to the hospital. Without a doctor, what can the nurses do?" she questioned.


The intense fighting between the Arakan Army (AA) fighters and junta soldiers  in Maungdaw locality led to the travel restrictions imposed by the junta which has caused hardships to the residents.

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