An update from Myanmar

Public protests in Myanmar continue to intensify amid calls to defy the new military regime that took control of the government and detained its elected leaders in a coup on 1st February. 

A ‘Civil Disobedience Movement’ started by pro-democracy activists, including medical professionals, announced that more than 70 hospitals and medical departments would stop work in protest of what it called an ‘illegitimate’ government. 

A doctor working for World Child Cancer in Myanmar gives us an update on how the situation has impacted our work and the desperate need for additional support to continue delivering care to children with cancer. 

Mandalay Children's Hospital (MCH), one of the referral hospitals for children with cancer in Myanmar, has been shut down in the wake of the military coup and the protests that ensued.  

A sad consequence of this is that all patients admitted on the children’s cancer ward have had to be been discharged from the hospital. To help these children to continue their treatment and necessary care, the Director of Mandalay Children’s Hospital (MCH) is trying to make the most of available resources. We are operating out-patient services in a private clinic, where consultation fees will be offered free of charge.  

However, the very sick children who need to be admitted to the private hospital will need to bear the cost of admission and its associated fees. Even at a discounted rate, out-of-pocket expenditure will be escalated far beyond what most families can afford. World Child Cancer will give financial support to those very sick children who need to be admitted to the private hospital. 

In the last two days, ten patients have been seen by paediatric oncologists in the private hospital and three patients have been admitted to receive inpatient care. The World Child Cancer team in Myanmar is working very closely with the team at the hospital to identify what support is needed at this time.    

Thanks to a generous donation of almost £10,000, essential drugs and chemotherapy drugs have been procured locally by the MCH team members. But more help is needed.  

A similar situation has happened at Yangon Children's Hospital on Monday, February 8th. To ensure parents had the money to return home one of our nurses carried cash across Yangon through all the demonstrations to get it to the parents, a very long and unsafe walk as all public transport has stopped. 

While the world watches on as the protests continue, we will be doing all we can to continue supporting the families who need us most. 

By donating today you will help us to continue our core project activities at this incredibly worrying time, including the transport project, drug supply, and nutritional and accommodation support.