By Lae Thyoe/Kantarawaddy Times
Karenni health workers can only provide vital medical care to thirty percent of the civilian population because regime forces are stopping them from accessing most of those in need.
”We are trying our best, but the Burma Army (BA) has blocked the roads, making it difficult for our health workers to travel to Karenni State,” says Khun Phillip, head of health services at the Karenni State Consultative Council (KSCC).
The KSCC was set up by the interim National Unity Government (NUG) to oversee and provide health services in the state. The NUG was partly formed by lawmakers who were ousted during the regime’s military coup.
About 200K civilians have been displaced in Karenni and southern Shan states by BA offensives and fighting with various armed groups resisting the dictatorship. Most of the civilians affected by the violence live in remote internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the jungle and are difficult to reach.
“We need medicines for them, but it is really tough to bring it here,” explains a volunteer nurse helping IDPs in western Hpruso Township in Karenni State.
Khun Phillip said: “There are many medics in the ethnic armed organizations in Karenni State. We are planning to incorporate them into our federal health department so that they can help provide proper medical care in our state in the future.”
His department is working with the National Unity Consultative Council, National Health Committee, Karenni Health Department, Civil Health and Development Network, Federal Health Profession Council, Karenni Nurses Association, Karenni Medical Doctors Association and other health organisations.
According to the civilian monitoring organisation Progressive Karenni People’s Force, the regime has killed 257 people, including 24 IDPs, in the state since the fall of the democratic government on 1 February 2021.