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Hundreds of people are believed to have been hit by an outbreak of dysentery and influenza in Mandalay city in central Burma as hospitals struggle to cope with the burden.
A resident of the city, home to just over a million people, told DVB that the illness had spread in the densely populated downtown areas of Mandalay.
“Hospital wards are overcrowding so they [patients] are being kept on benches. Those suffering from dysentery are being given drips, but it’s life threatening for those who cannot afford [treatment].”
Influenza has also spread among inhabitants, placing a strain on the city’s already undernourished healthcare facilities.
One clinic in the city, run by the Byanmaso Charity Association, which offers medical services free of charge, had received up to 400 patients over the weekend, a member of staff there told DVB. The cause of the illnesses is unknown, although the unseasonably hot weather in central Burma is thought to have fueled the spread.
Free medical care is scarce in Burma, where the government’s annual spending on health ranks among the lowest in the world, at around two percent of the yearly budget.
The government is yet to issue a warning about the outbreak of illness in the country’s second city.