Cyclone relief effort boosts Irrawaddy healthcare

Sep 11, 2008 (DVB), The influx of donations and volunteer doctors after Cyclone Nargis has led to improvements in healthcare in hospitals in some areas of Irrawaddy division, locals said.

After the cyclone hit Burma in early May, doctors and surgeons came from all over Burma to treat patients.

Ko Vanku of Human Rights Defenders and Promoters said staff at Bogalay hospital were treating patients with respect and kindness, in contrast to before the cyclone.

"In the past, when a patient went to the hospital, all he saw was empty beds, because people don't trust hospitals and were unable to pay the fees," Ko Vanku said.

"Since Nargis, when the volunteer doctors came here, they have treated patients warmly and when they care for patients, they give them their full attention, not just up to a point, and giving whole-hearted support with patience.

"People are satisfied with their general health."

A Bogalay resident said he was surprised by the good standard of treatment he received during a recent hospital visit.

"I went to the hospital in an emergency because a blood vessel in my stomach had ruptured. I took 400,000 or 500,000 kyat with me expecting it to be the same as usual," the resident said.

"But when they gave me the prescription and I went to collect the medicine, I didn't have to pay a single pya. They told me that they had enough medicine because it had been donated by the Sitagu abbot and Bogalay association," he said.

"Don't worry, they said, we also have surgeons. They did all the treatment. The doctors and nurses were very kind," he went on.

"That is one benefit in connection with Nargis."

A Laputta resident said the local situation was similar to Bogalay, with specialists working shifts to care for patients.

In Pyapon township, a resident said that local health provision had not improved, but patients could go to the nearby divisional hospital to get treatment for serious ailments.

"Things are not good in Pyapon. Patients that need operations have to go to Ma-upin, at divisional level hospital," he said.

"There are several specialists there, I've heard. But these specialists are compassionate and helpful. They only take as much as they have to; they don't ask patients to pay more for the operations," he said.

"Many people are going to Ma-upin for operations as it is close by."

Reporting by Aye Nai

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