Aung San Suu Kyi’s by-elecion victory on April 1st will surely boost Burma’s reformers, but greater challenges awaits for the least developed country in Souht-East Asia. One of them: healthcare. An estimated 350,000 people live with HIV/AIDS in Myanmar. 120,000 of these are in need of lifesaving treatments but only 25 percent of them actually get the medicines. As a result of the strict military regime and lack of openness the healthcare situation is even more complex than first expected.
The waiting lists to get Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) are long, and many people do not survive the waiting. Every year an estimated 20,000 people die as a result of Myanmar having some of the lowest coverage rates for ART in the world. And also one of the lowest recipients of official development aid in the world. Here, as in many developing countries, one of the first infections to take hold is Tuberculosis (TB). An HIV crisis therefore inevitably means TB. Tens of thousands of lives in Myanmar now hang in the balance.
Story by Marthe Amanda Vannebo