Maternal deaths, up to 20 newborn deaths in Mindat due to medicine shortage

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Caption – Some Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) take shelter the jungle

Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Mindat Township in southern Chin State have suffered maternal deaths in childbirth and up to 20 newborn deaths as they flee the armed conflict due to a lack of medicines, according to the Mindat Township IDP Camp Management Committee.

“Married women don’t have access to adequate medicine and nutrition during pregnancy and childbirth. The mortality rate is still high due to the lack of qualified doctors and health professionals. Pregnant mothers only give birth with local midwives. Transportation is also difficult. It is not safe to ride a motorcycle on rough roads,” said Ko Lawrence,the person in charge of the Mindat Township IDP Camp Management Committee.

In the three years since the military coup, the military council has imposed martial law in Mindat Township and restricted the transportation of medical supplies, leading to the deaths of IDPs in the township due to a lack of medicines and medical professionals, Ko Lawrence said.

According to records of the Mindat Township IDP Camp Management Committee, 12 displaced women died in childbirth and 20 newborns died between 2021 and 2023.

There may have been more deaths than recorded, but collecting detailed data is difficult due to telephone communication issues, Ko Lawrence added.

Due to transportation and communication difficulties and financial hardships during displacement, pregnant women also face daily difficulties in getting the necessary nutrients and supplements during pregnancy, according to the health assistant of the Mindat Township IDP Camp Management Committee.

“Pregnant and lactating women also need medicines and nutrients. The clinic here can only cover a small percentage of their needs. Therefore, there is still a great need for vitamins and medicines for the pregnant women,” explained the health assistant.

Currently, the Chinland Defense Force – Mindat controls the entire Mindat Township, except for the urban areas. The Mindat Township People’s Administration has opened health clinics in IDP camps and IDP-hosting areas, appointed medical staff, and provided cash assistance and medicines for women who have just given birth. However, the need is still great and the mothers still need help, according to the health assistant.

In addition to maternal deaths in childbirth, there are also cases of miscarriages and stillbirths due to the communication difficulties and lack of timely medical care, Ko Lawrence said.

“Just recently we had to bury a stillbirth. It was the woman’s third birth. She was from Shit Ka Lu village in Station (14), quite far away. She went into labor but she could not deliver. She had bleeding. They came by motorcycle and car, but when they arrived and checked with ultrasound, the baby had died. The mother said the baby was still moving when they arrived at the hospital. That must have been the moment the baby died,” he said.

Ko Lawrence continued, “We have medical treatment procedures and hospitals/clinics in operation, but transportation is very difficult for many. We also need medical supplies and still need qualified doctors and other medical professionals.”

Mindat Township consists of nine stations covering six village tracts, with nearly 30 villages in each village tract. There are currently more than 10,000 IDPs in these villages, according to the Mindat Township IDP Camp Management Committee.

Sent by KMG.

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