On 8 June, Médecins Sans Frontières team in Dawei, Tanintharyi region, received a letter from the regional authorities asking us to suspend all activities.
This decision will impact 2,162 people living with HIV under MSF care in Myittar Yeik clinic, who will struggle to access antiretroviral treatment, as well as TB patients, who since February this year have been seeking care at MSF-supported facilities due to reduced functioning of the National TB programme.
Suspending MSF’s activities could be life-threatening for many of our patients at a time when public services remain severely disrupted. It risks further transmission of the diseases we treat. It may prevent new patients from getting diagnosed and starting life-saving treatment. And it will deprive our patients of much-needed psychosocial counselling, vital for ensuring adherence to treatment.
MSF team is taking all possible measures to ensure patients continue to get care. We have already provided antiretroviral drug refills to 100 patients and are arranging to send medication to those living outside Dawei.
MSF has been providing comprehensive HIV care in Dawei for almost two decades, including outreach programmes to prevent marginalised and at-risk people, such as migrant workers and people who inject drugs, from getting infected. Until now, our activities have not been disrupted, despite the political instability affecting Myanmar.
MSF is in contact with regional health authorities to understand the decision, and has requested the suspension order is revised so we can continue to provide care to patients. MSF remains willing and ready for an open dialogue in order to allow us to provide healthcare for at-risk people in Dawei.