Karenni IDPs Struggle with Critical Medicine Shortages

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By Kantarawaddy Times

Internally displaced persons (IDPs) lack life-saving medicines amid ongoing fighting and regime blockages, posing challenges for volunteer groups trying to deliver them to the remote camps situated in Karenni State.

“We are unable to travel on the main road and must use jungle roads, but it’s too risky and difficult for us,” says Khoon Philip, the director of Civil Health and Development Network. During the rainy season, it’s not possible to drive vehicles in some parts, and the medicine must be carried by foot, he said.

Unfortunately, some areas where IDPs are living cannot even be accessed and as a result, the camps often run out of supplies while in Hpruso Township people have resorted to using expired medicines.

“Even though we are not afraid of the State Administration Council’s (SAC) ground troops, we are concerned with artillery shelling and other airstrikes on our clinics and hospitals. This really causes problems providing medical care for our people.” Since the coup, SAC has deliberately targeted these kinds of facilities, he said.

“Health workers are trying their best to provide medical care, but if they do not have proper supplies and other equipment, they cannot do much,” Khoon Philip said, explaining at least they’ll get basic care.

An anonymous source from the Karenni State IDP Assisting Network explained that rising inflation has hindered their efforts to help the people. “If we spend one million kyat (about $500) on medicines, we only get enough to help between 5-7 patients. We provide people with free medical care. We have to spend up to 2 million kyat to stock a mobile clinic,” he said, explaining this doesn’t include the trip’s cost.

Despite all of these challenges, U Banyar, the second secretary of Karenni State Interim Executive Council, explained how he’s proud of the work his medical department has done to provide the IDPs with the care they deserve with the help of other local organizations and religious groups.

There are more than 250,000 IDPs in Karenni State and in Pekon Township in southern Shan State. In Demoso Township alone, there are 100,000 people, and they often run out of medicine.

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