Wed 3 Dec 2008
Filed under: Health / AIDS,News
Over 1,000 patients have been found to be HIV positive in 2008 in the biggest hospital in Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) controlled Laiza, the largest ethnic Kachin ceasefire group in Burma’s northern Kachin state, said KIO sources. Both KIO servicemen and the people can avail medical services at the hospital.
The HIV positive statistics was recorded at the public and military hospital in Laiza, the headquarters and business centre of the KIO on the Sino-Burma border following blood examination of every patient who came to the hospital this year, said Naw Bu, deputy in-charge of the KIO central Health Department.
Naw Bu added that only one-third of patients infected with HIV are residents of Laiza and the rest are from the villages around Laiza and people from Bhamo and Myitkyina townships, the most populated areas in the state.
HIV was found mostly among Intravenous Drug Users (IDUs) in the Laiza hospital where the patients from outside Laiza also come for hospitalization, according to Naw Bu.
Moreover, every eight out of 10 IDUs in Maijayang also called Mai Ja Yang in Kachin, another KIO business centre on the border and headquarters of the 3rd Brigade under the KIO are HIV positive, the results of blood examination revealed, a NGO worker in the border-based Health Unlimited (HU) said.
Maijayang is where the KIO’s biggest and 24-hour non-stop casino is located. Here thousands of people, mainly Chinese gamble. On the other hand there are one or more drug users in every Kachin family in the village, according to residents of the villages.
The London-based HU has its branch office in Kunming, the capital of China’s southwest Yunnan province and it is implementing harm reduction project of HIV/AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) to IDUs and commercial sex workers in the KIO controlled areas of Laiza and Maijayang, said HU workers. The HU is also imparting public Malaria education, prevention and cure projects in the villages along the Sino-Burma border which are mainly controlled by the KIO.
On December 1, the special public education ceremonies on ‘World Aids Day’ were held in Laiza and Maijayang and jointly managed by the HU and the KIO Health Department, said sources.
According to the international medical group Doctors Without Borders, AIDS-related illnesses killed 25,000 people in 2007 in Burma. The group said that some 240,000 people are infected with the HIV/AIDS virus, but only a few thousand are receiving life-saving treatment.