Children in Hpasawng Township Face Health Risks Amid Vaccine Shortage

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By Kantarawaddy Times

Children in the Mawchi area of Hpasawng Township haven’t been vaccinated for chickenpox, measles, and other diseases for three years, putting them at risk if they contract these diseases.

“Since the COVID-19 outbreak, children haven’t received any vaccines,” a nurse told Kantarawaddy Times, citing the difficulties for health groups to travel to the area in Karenni State to deliver the medicine since the coup happened over three years ago.

Since the political crisis in Karenni State, many Mawchi families sent their children to Demoso to get inoculated, but now the town is abandoned and there are many landmines left by the Burma army after resistance fighters forced them out late last year.

“Here in Mawchi, a nurse told us that there was no preventative medicine for our children…I am worried for my children,” a mother remarked.

The nurse said if they don’t get vaccinated, they are risking death should they fall sick.

Although the Interim Executive Council (IEC) in Karenni State has administered shots for 7,000 children under 5 in some areas of Loikaw, Demoso, Hpruso, and Mobye townships, and along the border with Thailand, Khun Philip, head of its health department, said they haven’t been able to do this in Hpasawng, Bawlakhe, and Shadaw townships.

“The problem is that we do not have enough medicine, which are too expensive. If we have 1,000 vaccines, we will vaccinate 1,000 children. If we have vaccines for 2,000 children, we will vaccinate 2,000 children. If we receive more vaccines, we can expand our area of coverage.”

He pointed out there are over 30,000 children under 5 who still need to be vaccinated. The IEC plans to inoculate children in stable areas every month and 3 times in regions still marred by conflict in 2024.

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