“Now, during the revolution, the population no longer has access to healthcare either because of security problems, inflation or growing poverty. Maternal mortality, infant mortality and malnutrition have become major challenges for us.” – Dr. Sharon Par, Minister of Health and Sports, Chinland Government

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Caption – Chinland Government’s health and sports minister Dr. Sharon Par

An interview with Dr. Sharon Par, Minister of Health and Sports of the Chinland Government, on the implementation of the 100-day plan, the difficulties and challenges in the health sector and the plans in place.

Three years after the military coup, this week marks the first 100 days of the establishment of the Chinland Government by the Chinland Council. The Chinland Government, consisting of 15 ministries, has announced that it will “effectively implement” matters such as health, education, humanitarian aid and reconstruction as well as the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM).

Khonumthung Media Group (KMG) conducted this interview with Chinland Government’s health and sports minister Dr. Sharon Par on the implementation of the ministry, the challenges facing the health sector in Chin State and the plans in place.

Q: What has your health and sports ministry done within the 100-day plan?

A: In the 100 days, we have collected regional data from different areas in Chin State, met with NGOs, CBOs/CSOs working in Chin State, conducted field visits, and met with donors and partner governments.

Q: What is the current situation of the health sector in Chin State?

A: At the moment, it is still an emergency situation. But after three years of revolution, we also need to consider long-term plans.

Q: Which diseases are currently most prevalent in Chin State? Why are they occurring?

A: As everyone knows, in the first year after the coup, many people died unnecessarily from the second wave of Covid-19. After that, infectious diseases like malaria and tuberculosis have become spread widely because childhood vaccinations and related medicines were not available. We are also seeing chronic diseases that are not infectious disease, like high blood pressure, diabetes and mental health conditions that need constant treatment. There are still areas beyond our reach where we can’t track disease outbreaks.

Q: What are the most urgent needs for healthcare services during the revolution in Chin State?

A: The most urgent need at present is administrative mechanisms. That’s why the Chin people, local administrations from different regions, elected parliamentary representatives, and armed resistance groups have come together to form the Chinland Government through the Chinland Council. The second need is healthcare workforce. Chin State has always suffered from a severe shortage of healthcare human resources. Before the government was formed, CDM health workers tried to provide care where they could. But now the Chinland Government needs to recruit and deploy massively more health workers.

The third need is medicines, medical supplies, infrastructure and communication. Prices have tripled. Over the past three years, due to airstrikes and other attacks, many healthcare facilities have been damaged or destroyed. These need to be repaired or rebuilt in safe areas. And at the moment due to the lack of telephone and internet connections, we are facing many difficulties, from access to information to the provision of health services. With the formation of the Chinland Government, we intend to integrate and operate services where they are needed.

Q: What percentage of the population in Chin State has been unable to access healthcare during the revolution? Can you describe their situation and the impact?

A: A very high percentage hasn’t had access to health care during the revolution. But it is difficult to give an exact percentage. Some of the diseases are preventable, some are not. In Chin State, many common diseases are preventable. For example, maternal deaths during childbirth are both preventable and treatable. The transmission of tuberculosis from person to person can be prevented and is treatable.

There are also diseases such as measles, malaria and diarrheal diseases. And then there are diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Once they have developed these diseases, their complications are preventable and manageable. However, due to the lack of access to healthcare, we are seeing far more people in Chin State dying from these preventable diseases. The number of preventable diseases and deaths has risen sharply compared to the past.

Q: What do people in Chin State need for adequate access to healthcare during the revolution? What are the biggest challenges and obstacles?

A: There are indeed many challenges. Let me first mention our strength – we have the support and backing of our people inside and outside the country. With their help, we have been able to provide more health services than we expected. But there are still challenges such as the administrative mechanisms I mentioned earlier, health workers, drugs and medical supplies, facilities and communication. In addition, Chin state has long been the poorest state.

In terms of health indicators, it has the highest maternal mortality rate, the third highest under-five infant mortality rate and the highest rate of chronic malnutrition (stunting). We have always relied heavily on help from outside the Chin state for labor supply. Now, during the revolution, the population no longer has access to healthcare either because of security problems, inflation or deepening poverty. Maternal mortality, infant mortality and malnutrition have become major challenges for us. Another major challenge is the lack of sustainable funding for healthcare. The military junta’s blockades and restrictions on the transportation of medicines and supplies are also a major obstacle.

Q: Can you tell us if you have any plans in place for health care specifically for the people of Chin State?

A: Once we have completed the collection of baseline data from the population, we will hold workshops with experts, local administrators, health officials and members of the Chinland Government to develop the most suitable healthcare policies for Chin State. Based on the results of these workshops, we will then develop and implement our healthcare plans.

Q: Please feel free to add other important points.

A: After the coup, with internal and external support, we have done our best to provide healthcare services in various areas. But without an official government, everyone has been acting at their own will. In places without health workers, quacks have taken advantage of the situation. There has been unregulated sale of food and medicines. This has put our population at risk.

With the formation of the Chinland Government, we want to ensure systematic and equitable health care throughout Chin State. We will formulate a health policy suitable for Chin State and implement a system that provides more services to those most in need. We will recruit adequate staff and ensure that all people have access to healthcare. We also want to nurture qualified healthcare resources from Chin State’s own population.

Therefore, I invite our brothers and sisters from Chin State as well as all Myanmar citizens to support the Chinland Government through prayers, advice, financial and human resources or through their participation. To contact the Ministry of Health and Sports, you can reach us at [email protected], [email protected], Facebook: Ministry of Health and Sports, Chinland Government.

Sent by KMG.

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