Health


A law enacted last month by the quasi-military government allows officials in the Buddhist-majority nation to order women to wait three years between births. Rights groups say the changes, which are backed by ultra-nationalist Buddhist groups, target Muslim women according to a report in the Singapore based Today on 9 June.
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Lippo Group, one of Indonesia’s largest conglomerates, launched on Saturday its first hospital in Myanmar, as part of the group’s plan to spend $1 billion to build 20 hospitals in the country over the next three to five years.
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If mother of two Sandar Myat Min chooses to have another child, Myanmar’s government could decide when she can become pregnant.
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In Chin state, the poorest state in Myanmar, only 6 per cent of children receive health care, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has said.
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The United States has said it is deeply concerned about the legislative passage of the Health Care for Population Control Bill in Myanmar, paving the way for it to be enacted into law according to an official statement dated 19 May.
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Press Statement
Jeff Rathke
Director, Office of Press Relations
Washington, DC

The United States is deeply concerned about legislative passage of the Health Care for Population Control Bill in Burma, paving the way for it to be enacted into law. This bill and the three other draft bills to purportedly “protect race and religion,” which address religious conversion, interfaith marriage, and monogamy, contain provisions that could be enforced in a manner that would undermine respect for reproductive rights, women’s rights, and religious freedom.
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When a doctor of 16 years was posted as chief of the Health Department in the town of Ingapu, in Irrawaddy Division’s Henzada [Hinthada] District, he saw it as an opportunity to put into action a long-held plan.
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Deep in the forest, the surgeon fought to save the life of his patient, who had stepped on a landmine. When the tourniquet slipped and the bleeding resumed, the surgeon stemmed the flow as best he could with bandages and cotton wool before continuing his preparations to amputate.
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In what some might see as an attempt to present a more patient-friendly face, the Ministry of Health will be shifting its focus in the coming year toward hiring extra staff and dispensing more medicine. A still sizeable, but proportionally smaller, chunk of this year’s budget will go to improving buildings – which critics say the ministry has over-prioritised in recent years. (more…)

Almost two dozen food products from markets and schools in Nay Pyi Taw and Magwe tested positive for illegal and potentially toxic chemical substances, according to the Ministry of Health.
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At least three townships in Irrawaddy Division have been hit this month by an outbreak of diarrhea that is being blamed on contaminated drinking water.
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The government has repealed the former Myanmar Medical Council Law following approval of new legislation that it says will make the council independent on the Ministry of Health. Observers, however, say that the body may be only nominally independent, with most of its positions filled by government officials and the minister for health to occupy one of three powerful “patron” roles.
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On the eve of the Thingyan holidays – a period increasingly renowned for drunken partying in Myanmar – it emerged that authorities had told stores to stop selling the morning-after pill during the festival. These strong-arm tactics led to many shops removing other forms of contraception, including in some cases condoms, from their shelves.
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Outside a remote prison deep in the jungles of eastern Burma, young men sweat through their withdrawal in the dense heat of early summer. The inmates at this modest facility, about 60 of them in all, were arrested by ethnic Mon rebels for drug sales or possession, and have been sentenced to a sober stint of road-building in the underdeveloped region. (more…)

Myanmar’s religious and ethnic minorities may be targeted, abused and suppressed by a proposed population control law which could be a serious setback for the country’s maternal health advances, according to a U.S.-based human rights group.
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The Dr. Saw Mya Aung Foundation announced that it will provide 50 amputees in Burma with prosthetic hands that have the ability to seize and hold objects. (more…)

Natural medicines remain an important alternate remedy in Myanmar as local and foreign pharmaceutical companies look to gain a foothold in the market. A pioneer in the field of alternative medicine, Dr. Khin Maung Lwin founded Fame Pharmaceuticals in 1994. He graduated from the Institute of Medicine 2 (Yangon) in 1984, served in the Myanmar Army Medical Corps for more than five years and has also pursued post-graduate studies in the United States and the United Kingdom. Dr. Khin Maung Lwin spoke with The Irrawaddy’s Kyaw Hsu Mon about the alternative medicine market in a country better known for its counterfeit drugs.
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A farmer who was imprisoned in Maubin prison for the murder of a policeman during land rights protests in 2013 has been sent to a psychiatric hospital after staging a hunger strike.
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A Police force “special project” to reduce sexual crime during Thingyan has resulted in registered contraceptive pills – and even condoms – being pulled from shelves, in a move health professionals say is highly misguided. (more…)

Only a few shops are open in Bahan Township’s unusual bazaar at 6:45 am on a Saturday, when those who exercise nearby come to buy their produce. The once-weekly market began offering a rare selection of natural fruits and vegetables in March for customers concerned with food hygiene and safety.
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