Medical Charity Faces Access Restrictions in Myanmar

By Muktadir Rashid   13 December 2022

DHAKA – Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) says its team in Rakhine State is struggling to provide health care because of restrictions imposed by Myanmar’s junta.

“We have operations both in northern and eastern Rakhine … We are facing challenges in reaching out to our patients,” Claudio Miglietta of MSF, also known as Doctors Without Borders, said when asked about the charity’s work in Rakhine during its event to mark 50 years operating in Bangladesh.

“In Myanmar they have put additional restrictions on movement and not allowed organizations to some areas because of security. Those are the areas where we have a lot of beneficiaries. So we cannot reach them as we used to do before,” Miglietta said.

“Although the ceasefire will hopefully improve access, the activities in that area will continue to be affected and the civilian population will continue to face challenges.”

An informal ceasefire between the Arakan Army and junta in Rakhine was agreed on November 25.

“This should improve the access, also in terms of supplies,” Miglietta told The Irrawaddy.

MSF reported that the February 2021 coup left public health care in disarray, threatening millions of people’s access to health care.

The group’s International Activity Report in 2021 said MSF had at least 1,165 people working in Myanmar in 2021.

MSF has been working in Myanmar since 1992.

The story has been updated on Dec. 14