MSF ordered to stop medical activities in Myanmar, thousands at risk

Médecins Sans Frontières Holland closed its HIV/AIDS clinics in Rakhine, Shan and Kachin on Friday and ceased treating thousands of patients by order of the Union Government of Myanmar.

MSF said the Union Government's order to cease all activities in the country will have a devastating effect on the 30,000 HIV/AIDS patients and more than 3,000 tuberculosis patients the organization has been treating.

MSF is unable to provide primary care to patients in refugee camps and isolated villages in Rakhine state, including patients that require referrals to emergency secondary hospital care at Ministry of Health facilities. The organization is also prevented from treating pregnant women and newborn babies.

"There is no other medical non-governmental organization that operates at the scale of MSF with the experience and infrastructure to deliver necessary life-saving medical services," MSF said in a prepared statement.

MSF has provided care in Myanmar for 22 years based solely on need, with no regard to race, religion, gender, HIV status or religious affiliation. The organization said its actions are based on medical ethics and principles of neutrality.

MSF is conducting discussions with the government of Myanmar in hopes that it can resume medical activities and continue to address the unmet health needs of Myanmar citizens.