Hukawng Valley villagers face worsening healthcare access

San Lat / June 1, 2020

Bangkok village hospital on Ledo Road / Seng Nu Pan

Almost a hundred thousand of villagers living along the historic Ledo Road in the Hukawng Valley of northern Burma have been facing deteriorating situation to access public healthcare system due to the declining numbers of medical practitioners who are willing to serve those locations.

Residents of Bangkok, Dumbang, Hkum Tsai Yang, Kawng Ra, Lawa, Nawng Mi, Shaduzup, Ting Kawk and Warazup villages have face the shortage of especially the doctors at the Bangkok village hospital, according to the villagers. The Bangkok village hospital, also known as cottage hospital, has no doctors for almost five years.

“The main problem is no doctor in our village hospital,” N’hkum Ja Bu from Bangkok village told The Kachin Post. Our village is far from the Kachin State capital Myitkyina and the road is not that good to travel there, she added. Most patients have to spend almost a million kyat (US$ 700) for travelling to Myitkyina to get medical treatment, according to Ja Bu.

On the other hand, the infamous Yuzana Company has its private hospital at the Bangkok village. However, no villagers have allow to access for medical treatments. Yuzana Company has been known for decades of confiscating hundreds of thousand acres of farmland from local farmers in Hukawng Valley and facing many of land dispute cases with the local people.

People who encounters emergency situation have faced more serious problem to access healthcare, Seng Nu Pan from Warazup village told The Kachin Post. People often died from preventable diseases and treatable injuries, especially for the patients with the lack of finance to travel nearby towns to get medical treatments. Many villagers along the Ledo Road are facing hard time relying on the village hospital, which has full of facilities with no doctors, she said.

Only three medical doctors applied for 56 available positions which are offered to fill up for hospitals across the Kachin State, according to the Burma’s Ministry of Health and Sports.

Bangkok village of Hpakant Township is located on the Ledo Road in the half way between Tanai town at the north and Kamaing town at the south. The village is situated 75 miles west of the Kachin State capital Myitkyina.