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အာဏာရွင္စနစ္ က်ဆံုးမွ တတိုင္းျပည္လံုး စစ္မွန္တဲ့ ဒီမိုကေရစီကို ခံစားရမယ္

Burma’s HIV/AIDS Crisis in Red Alert: MSF

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Burma’s HIV/AIDS Crisis in Red Alert: MSF

By Wai Moe –

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

About 25,000 people died of AIDS-related illnesses in 2007 in Burma and 76,000 out of an estimated 240,000 people who are thought to be carrying HIV/AIDS urgently need antiretroviral treatment (ART), the Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said on Tuesday.

The Geneva-based humanitarian aid organization said in its latest report “A Preventable Fate: The Failure of ART Scale-up in Myanmar,” that the situation for many people living with HIV/AIDS in the Southeast Asian Nation is critical due to a severe lack of lifesaving ART.

“Last year, around 25,000 people died of AIDS-related illnesses. A similar number of people could suffer the same fate in 2008 unless there is a significant increase in accessible antiretroviral treatment (ART),” MSF Operations Manager Joe Belliveau said in a press release.

The MSF said that during its five years of operation in the country, the Burmese regime and International Community’s response to the most serious HIV/AIDS epidemics in Asia has remained minimal.

The MSF added it can only provide medicine to 20 percent, or about 11,000 of the 76,000 people who need treatment immediately. The Burmese regime and other nongovernmental organizations supply 4,000 people with ART, it said.

However, the MSF said that it has recently been forced to make the painful decision to drastically reduce the number of new patients it can treat.

“It is unacceptable that a single NGO is treating the vast majority of HIV patients in a crisis of this magnitude,” Belliveau said.

According to the report, in the last two years, Burma’s Department of Health has treated only an estimated 1,800 patients with ART in 22 hospitals across the country.

The organization called upon the Burmese authorities and the International Community to mobilize quickly in order to address the situation. The Burmese military regime currently spends an estimated 0.3 percent of the gross domestic product on health, which the lowest amount in the world.

“In 2007, the Government of Myanmar spent just US $0.7 per person on healthcare, with a paltry $200,000 allocated for HIV/AIDS in 2008,” the MSF said.

The level of international humanitarian aid also is strikingly low, around $3 per person, one of the lowest rates worldwide, according to the report.

The cost of monthly first-line ART from a private pharmacy is US $29 in Burma where a majority of more than 50 million Burmese survive on $1.2 per day income.

The MSF said if people can find a way to afford ART, many become indebted and are soon force to stop taking the medicine.

It also said that governmental constraints and bureaucratic procedures may be challenges for aid organizations by noting that in some areas in the country, such as Kayah [Kareni] State, the MSF has not been permitted to start AIDS treatment.

The report quoted a 28-year-old male patient, “I think that I am going to die. I cannot do anything to get better. Even if there is a treatment, I am not able to afford it, as I do not have money. So I think that I will die from HIV.”

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

November 25, 2008 at 3:03 pm

Posted in Varieties in English

Tagged with , , , , , ,

2 Responses

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  1. Please can you remove the black and white photos used in this report, as they are copyrighted to the photographer and unless you have spoken with him and arranged purchase, then you are breaching copyright.

    If you would like to contact me at the email address above, then I will gladly send you some copyright free images that you are welcome to use at no cost.

    many thansk for respecting this request.

    Naomi Pardington

    November 26, 2008 at 8:03 am

  2. Thanks, Naomi, for your reminding about the copyrighted photos. I am glad to say that I did delete those pics from my post. I respect your request and the copyright.

    Lwin Aung Soe

    November 26, 2008 at 2:16 pm

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