In most of the world, the Covid-19 pandemic was a blunt reminder for governments of how valuable their healthcare workers really are. Not in Myanmar.
Deep into a deadly outbreak partly fueled by the Delta variant, the targeting of healthcare workers by the country’s military junta has forced them into the shadows, just when they are needed most. Almost 200 doctors have been arrested and hundreds of others have been issued arrest warrants for defying the junta, according to an analysis released Tuesday by Physicians for Human Rights. Others have gone into hiding, afraid they will be next.
Many are now treating patients on their own, in secret.
Dr. Wai Phyo Kyaw, a 33-year-old surgeon in the central Myanmar city of Mandalay, is one of the country’s rogue doctors. He sleeps at safe houses, moving to a new hiding place about every two weeks. He has more than 20 patients who consult with him through phone or video calls, and his clandestine house visits. He has little protective equipment—sometimes he doesn’t even wear gloves—and had only one vaccine dose in January. If caught, he could be jailed.
“I don’t worry about getting caught or infected,” he said in an interview. “I made up my mind to help people.”
Originally Appeared Here