Bogalay healthcare provision in crisis

May 13, 2008 (DVB), A human rights activist in Bogalay said disease and poor sanitation in the township in the aftermath of the recent cyclone have placed a heavy burden on healthcare provision.

The Bogalay activist said NGOs were helping refugees in the township, but they remained in difficulty.

"Children are starting to have dysentery in the monasteries due to the lack of toilets," she said.

"Some people have been sent to other places and new people have been taken in. They took pictures and videotaped the tents with the refugees and took them away."

The activist said aid supplies, including food, drinks and medicines, were being held in storage in mother and child care offices, mosques, primary schools and Hindu and Chinese temples.

She said the government has given no effective help and so support groups have had to rely on help from NGOs and other donors who do not want to channel aid through the government to provide pure water and medicines.

Hospitals are overcrowded and patients have been asked to pay for urgent treatment, the activist said.

"In the hospitals, patients are being lined up on the floor as there are not enough beds. They have many diseases, and some are heavily pregnant," she said.

"The UNICEF people are treating patients properly. I heard that their staff are very tired and asking for new people. They are doing it without asking for a single pya," she went on.

"In the government hospital, a heavily pregnant woman was told she would only be operated on and helped to give birth if she gave them 40,000 [kyat]. She came from a village which was completely destroyed," she said.

"There are many women like that and they are doing nothing for them, from what I have seen with my own eyes."

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