Lawmakers in Mandalay Reject Call to Crack Down on Illegal Clinics

By Zarni Mann 5 April 2018

MANDALAY — The Mandalay Region Parliament on Tuesday rejected a proposal to urge the government on taking legal action against illegal clinics and medical practitioners.

The proposal from lawmaker U Nyi Min Han received only 26 votes in favor from the 61 legislators present for the session.

“The chief minister said he recognized my proposal. However, Parliament decided to take a vote and it received only 26 votes,” U Nyi Min Han said.

The lawmaker said an increasing number of life threatening incidents in Mandalay Region pushed him to raise the issue in Parliament.

“There were people who were not medical specialists giving patients the wrong treatment. Those patients arrived at government hospitals very late with very complicated conditions,” he said.

In a case that came to light last month in Singu Township, about 32 km north of Mandalay City, a man with no medical background had been illegally operating on men and women who came to him with any disease. Patients developed life threatening infections as a result.

In another case also uncovered in March, more than 300 people had been infected with Hepatitis C at the illegal clinic of an unlicensed medical practitioner in a remote part of Myinchan District.

Mandalay also has a number of illegal clinics offering traditional Chinese medicine and giving its patients faulty treatment. In February, at least five cancer patients were admitted to government hospitals with complications as a result.

“There are illegal and unauthorized clinics which claim to be traditional medical practitioners that can cure cancer with their medicine. In reality their treatments create complications and life threatening side effects, and the patients have paid a great deal of money for the treatments,” U Nyi Min Han said.

“Although there are already laws that can be used to take legal action, a lack of rule of law in this sector is creating the opportunity for such fake medical practitioners and illegal and unauthorized clinics to survive,” he added.

According to the Medical Council Law, a person who is not a medical practitioner or does not have a general medical practitioner’s license may not provide medical treatment. Those who break the law may be fined and face up to five years in prison.

“Although Parliament’s rejection saddens me, it has attracted public attention that I believe will make the government or the authorities of the Medical Council turn their heads and strictly impose the rules to take care of this issue,” U Nyi Min Han said.