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March 01, 2018

Let’s work together with government for saving our innocent children

AN outbreak of measles which scourged some remote villages in far northwestern Myanmar’s Naga Self-Administrative Zone (SAZ) is now finally under control. Medical teams are taking further steps to prevent tuberculosis in the areas as the measles virus also attacks the lungs and respiratory system.
The outbreak brought back some of my childhood memories. I contracted measles at the age of around four and was rushed to the hospital at the last minute because my parents did not distinguish measles from an ordinary fever. I narrowly escaped death.
In truth, measles is very rare in most of the rest of the world. In the case of the outbreak in Naga SAZ, it seems clear to me that vaccination coverage did not reach all the remote areas.
Medical teams rushed to the areas and gave treatment to the children suffering measles, and administered vaccines to the children in the high risk zones.
However, the battle is not yet over. We should learn a lesson from the measles outbreak in Naga SAZ. We should find the root cause and prepare to prevent such an outbreak in other parts of the country in the future and to provide quick response even if it happen.
According to ground reports from medical teams, local children are suffering from malnutrition and the homes traditionally constructed by the ethnic peoples do not have adequate ventilation.
After the outbreak in Naga SAZ, locals have come to understand that they need to inform authorities at once when such an outbreak happens.
But, it is difficult in remote areas like Naga SAZ. How can people in these areas inform the authorities when the next emergency or outbreak of disease occurs? There is no telecommunications and not internet.
This makes it difficult to get ground reports in remote areas. The time has come to provide the far-flung and inaccessible areas with mobile telecommunications.
In the meantime, the rural health sector, which plays an important role in providing quick response to the outbreak of diseases, should be improved.
To achieve these objectives, it is the duty of the government to adopt short-term and long-term plans to improve the health standards in remote areas.
However, we, citizens who are close to battlefields, are obliged to share information with the authorities so that the government can plan accordingly. For the country’s people, charity should begin with the neediest people. Let’s work together with the government to save the lives of our innocent children.


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