News / Asia

    Burmese Government Backpedals on Aid Organization Ban

    A family member takes care of a HIV patient at HIV/AIDS care center founded by Phyu Phyu Thin, a parliament member of Burma's Opposition Leader Aung San Suu Kyi's NLD Party, in outskirts of Rangoon, Mar. 1, 2014.
    A family member takes care of a HIV patient at HIV/AIDS care center founded by Phyu Phyu Thin, a parliament member of Burma's Opposition Leader Aung San Suu Kyi's NLD Party, in outskirts of Rangoon, Mar. 1, 2014.
    Gabrielle Paluch
    Doctors Without Borders, the largest single provider of anti-retroviral HIV/AIDS treatment in Burma - also known as Myanmar - has closed its clinics around the country for the first time since it began working there after receiving an order from the government to cease all operations.

    An outreach worker from Mandalay, who goes by the name of Casper, has been HIV-positive for over 10 years, and helps HIV-positive people get tested and get counseling. He has been traveling to a Doctors Without Borders clinic in Rangoon once a month to get life-saving drugs the government could not provide for him. On Saturday, he was told he will no longer be able to continue treatment after Doctors Without Borders was ordered to cease operations.

    He said that if there were no treatment from Doctors Without Borders, people would have to rely on government programs, and there would be many people in pain and suffering.

    Doctors Without Borders said in a statement Friday they were "deeply shocked" by the order, and the decision would have a "devastating impact" on the 30,000 HIV patients and 3,000 tuberculosis patients they are currently treating.

    Protesters and Buddhist monks stage a rally against Doctors Without Borders in Sittwe, Rakhine State, western Burma, Feb. 23, 2014.Protesters and Buddhist monks stage a rally against Doctors Without Borders in Sittwe, Rakhine State, western Burma, Feb. 23, 2014.
    x
    Protesters and Buddhist monks stage a rally against Doctors Without Borders in Sittwe, Rakhine State, western Burma, Feb. 23, 2014.
    Protesters and Buddhist monks stage a rally against Doctors Without Borders in Sittwe, Rakhine State, western Burma, Feb. 23, 2014.
    The organization works in a number of conflict areas across the country, but has been accused of favoring stateless Muslim Rohingya in Rakhine state, a minority group of people who have been forced out of their homes to live in camps where their movements are restricted.

    Government spokesperson Ye Htut told media the organization had been ordered to cease operations, and had falsely claimed it had treated victims of violence around the time of an alleged massacre in January, which the government denied happened.

    But after international pressure, Burma's government appears to be back-pedaling. Ye Htut said the government had not ordered a countrywide ban, just a Rakhine state ban for Doctors Without Borders.

    "Other parts of the country they are ok, but in Rakhine state they didn't follow their core principles of impartiality and they didn't follow the conditions set in the MOU. with the ministry of health, but after we reach the agreement for the new MOU. we will solve all these problems," he said.

    Even if the ban is limited to Rakhine state, thousands of patients living in dire conditions will have to do without the primary care provided by the medical charity every day.

    According to UNAIDS, there are already more than 90,000 people living with HIV in Burma who need anti-retrovirals and have no access to them. Though $160 million was pledged to help improve access last year to treatment for HIV, tuberculosis and malaria, the government has not been able to accommodate any new patients for anti-retrovirals.

    The medicines are so scarce in Burma that patients must have a CD-4 count below 350 in order to qualify for treatment, rather than the customary 500.

    Burma's current national budget reserves only 3 percent of its outlays for health and education combined.

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games, Despite Woes

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora