Skin Disease Affects IDPs in Karenni State

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By Kantarawaddy Times

A strange skin illness has affected some villagers living in internally displaced persons (IDPs) camps in Karenni State.

“Lumps appeared on my body a week after I gave birth to my baby. At first, they were on my legs but they spread to the whole body and became itchy,” a mother told Kantarawaddy Times.

Although they have disappeared, her body has swollen but the doctor can’t explain why. Additionally, she cannot produce enough breast milk to feed her baby. Currently, the woman receives four injections each day but has to borrow the money since she can not afford it.

The skin disease is also affecting the elderly and children. IDPs worry it is contagious and will spread to the rest of the community.

A person also affected by the lumps said they disappeared after taking medicine and applying ointment but would reappear on another part of their body. “I took all of the medicine the clinic gave me.” The IDP explained that after two weeks the skin disease made them feel numb.

Another mother said the clinic doesn’t have enough medicine for the IDPs. “If a child needs four kinds of medicine, the clinic only has two types,” she told Kantarawaddy Times.

A health worker wondered if the skin illness is related to the water or the cold and rainy weather the IDPs have to endure living in the jungle. “Many children are suffering from it, including a one-month-old baby. It could be caused by dirty water or related to poor hygiene.”

Fighting between civilian resistance groups and the military displaced many villagers, forcing them to take refuge in rudimentary camps. Meanwhile, the Burma Army burned rations and medicine intended for the IDPs and destroyed some of the clinics established near the camps.

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