YANGON — Officials at the Yangon People’s Hospital, the largest public hospital in Myanmar, say hawkers and vendors are posing serious problems to their operations and would be removed in line with a regional security and sanitation plan.
They claim that the peddlers have disobeyed their instructions for some time and that the situation has gotten worse recently with hawkers and vendors acting in blatant defiance of the rules.
“They don’t even make way for ambulances and emergency vehicles now, so the situation has gotten worse,” Dr. Thein Myint, who heads the hospital’s gastrointestinal department, told reporters on Saturday.
Hospital officials have given permission to only 70 vendors to sell their goods inside the hospital compound, but more than 100 are selling there without permission and causing a nuisance, he said.
The vendors and hawkers sell tobacco and betel quid even though it is banned by the hospital. Some also squat on the hospital grounds, drink alcohol in public and fight with each other, Dr. Thein Myint said.
And although food vendors are only allowed to sell pre-cooked items, many of them do their cooking in the compound and even wander the inpatient wards to make a sale. Female doctors and hospital staff have also reported sexual harassment by male vendors.
Dr. Thein Myint said the litter the hawkers and vendors leave behind was also causing problems and that they have been warned repeatedly to clean up after themselves but to no avail.
“We can’t give hawkers space. We’ll design a plan to remove them, but I don’t know exactly how long it will take,” said Dr. Khin Maung Gyi, an assistant director of the hospital.
“If they sold with discipline, it would affect no one and we would not have to take action against them,” he said.
According to hospital officials, the hospital receives approximately 1,800 inpatients and about 1,500 outpatients daily and has more than 1,000 staff.
Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.