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Myanmar govt asks Mercy Malaysia to rehabilitate hospital

Dr Ahmad Faizal : ‘Request shows Myanmar government trusts us’

THE Myanmar government has requested the Malaysian Medical Relief Society (Mercy Malaysia) to rehabilitate a hospital in the Rakhine state to offer on-site healthcare services to the Rohingya people stricken by the civil war.

Mercy Malaysia president Datuk Dr Ahmad Faizal Mohd Perdaus said yesterday the request was extended by the Health Ministry in Myanmar through the Rakhine state health department.

It requested Mercy Malaysia to rehabilitate the station hospital in the Dar Paing internally-displaced persons camp, which is deep in Rohingya territory near the Sittwe capital.

“It shows that the Myanmar government trusts us, which is something quite significant,” Dr Ahmad Faizal told a press conference.

Mercy Malaysia’s vice-president II, Norazam Ab Samad, said the society would also provide equipment and training personnel to work at the hospital, which would be rehabilitated at a cost of about US$50,000 (RM153,530).

The request was made yesterday after Norazam had led a team from Mercy Malaysia comprising executive council member Dr Heng Aik Cheng, Relief Operations head Hew Cheong Yew and volunteer Dr Mohamad Iqbal Omar to visit both Buddhist Rakhine and Muslim Rohingya camps in Sittwe two weeks ago.

Mercy Malaysia had distributed over 3,000 hygiene kits, including 2,500 drug-impregnated mosquito nets, and RM61,420 worth of medical supplies for flu, fever, cough and malaria.

The violence in the Rakhine region erupted in early June between ethnic Buddhists and both Rohingya and non-Rohingya Muslims after a woman was raped and killed in the town of Ramri.

Since then, thousands of both Buddhists Rakhine and the Rohingya community have been displaced after the violence swept through Sittwe and the surrounding areas, and the Myanmar government’s restriction of humanitarian access had only compounded matters.

Dr Ahmad Faizal said several international NGOs, such as Doctors Without Borders, were offering healthcare services in camps near Sittwe but the situation remained dire as heavy monsoon rain, crowded living conditions and poor sanitation had led to the spread of diseases such as respiratory infections, skin diseases, diarrhoea and malaria.

He said the society needed RM3.5 million to carry out basic medical services and reconstruction projects, including proper sanitation and drainage systems, for one year and a relief fund had been set up towards this end.

He also said the society had sent another team, headed by executive council member Dr Jitendra Kumar to visit the Syrian refugee camp where medical equipment was sorely needed.

A fund of RM2 million had also been established towards this end.

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