Sick Reuters Journalist Still Waiting For Proper Medical Care

By Zarni Mann 16 March 2018

MANDALAY — Permission for one of two detained Reuters journalists to receive treatment for jaundice and other medical conditions at a hospital outside of Insein prison has yet to be granted more than a week after his family requested it.

Ko Kyaw Soe Oo, 27, is in such bad health that his worried family asked the prison authorities to allow him to undergo a medical examination and receive proper treatment at an outside hospital.

“He is weak and has suffered from jaundice for about 20 days. His doctor said his liver is affected and gave him some medicine,” Ma Nyo Nyo Aye, sister of Ko Kyaw Soe Oo told The Irrawaddy.

According to his relatives, Ko Kyaw Soe Oo was able to have a brief medical checkup during a court hearing on Wednesday. However, the limited amount of time meant the doctor could not give him a proper examination.

“His office arranged the doctor, but he had very little time. We want to do more tests and get proper treatment for him. Moreover, the prison authorities only allowed him to take certain medicines with him and in a limited amount,” Ma Nyo Nyo Aye said. “We are worried that he will not recover because he did not receive the full dosage of the drugs the doctor gave him.”

The family said they requested permission a week ago for Ko Kyaw Soe Oo to be sent to an outside hospital, however, the prison authorities have yet to respond to them.

“Everyone knows the healthcare in the prison is not perfect and sanitation and hygiene are not good. We are worried for our brother’s health. He has no history of hepatitis but we are worried that he will be infected in the prison,” Ma Nyo Nyo Aye said.

The journalist’s lawyers said they are trying to push the prison authorities to provide proper healthcare to him.

Ko Kyaw Soe Oo and Wa Lone were arrested on Dec. 12 by plainclothes officers after being handed some papers by a policeman. They stand accused of possessing confidential government papers and have been charged under the colonial-era Official Secrets Act. They are facing a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison for the alleged crime.