IDP Families Struggle To Get Children Vaccinated

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By Kantarawaddy Times

Sunday, October 16, 2022

Children in internally displaced person (IDP) camps in Karenni State are missing out on getting inoculated because they’re only being offered in Loikaw.

Ber Mer said that since moving to an IDP camp, after a BA shell landed in her village, her family has been out of work. They don’t have money to travel to the Karenni State capital. “But it’s not only that, we also worry about our safety. We are afraid BA soldiers will do something to us.”

Maria, a mother from western Demawso Township, said volunteer teams are escorting people to Loikaw to get their kids vaccinated. Her child needs one more shot, but the last time they went, the clinic ran out of medication, so they have to make another trip. She said the bus fare costs $10.

The government offers free vaccinations against BCG, hepatitis B, polio, rota, VCD, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, meningitis, Japanese encephalitis, measles and rubella. Before the military coup, villagers could get their children vaccinated at clinics and hospitals in their area, but not anymore.

A doctor who walked off the job to join the Civil Disobedience Movement said that if children aren’t vaccinated, they’re at risk of polio, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus and hepatitis B.

According to a health worker volunteering in an IDP camp, they cannot afford to buy vaccinations and even if they could, it would be difficult to smuggle them into the camp.

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