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ACEM urges safe release of medical professionals detained in Myanmar

June 25th, 2021  •  Author:   Australasian College for Emergency Medicine  •  2 minute read
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ACEM continues to hold grave concerns for the welfare of medical professionals detained in Myanmar, including Professor Maw Maw Oo, Emergency Clinical lead for Myanmar’s national and regional COVID-19 response, who has now been held in prison for over ten weeks following his arrest and detention on Monday 12 April 2021.

Professor Maw Maw Oo was detained while treating patients at the Yangon General Hospital emergency department, where he serves as Director. ACEM is further saddened and concerned to hear of the arrest of further doctors, including Professor Htar Htar Lwin, the leading head of Myanmar’s Covid vaccine response.

ACEM continues to call for the safe and unconditional release of Professor Maw Oo, Professor Lwin and other medical professionals, and urges the international community to do all in its power to ensure the upholding of international humanitarian and human rights law, and to see that peace and democracy is restored in Myanmar.

Professor Maw Maw Oo’s ongoing detention, and the imprisonment of other much-needed medical professionals, represents a critical threat to Myanmar’s emergency medicine and healthcare systems more broadly. It undermines the ability of all healthcare workers to provide emergency care to the citizens of Myanmar and hinders Myanmar’s COVID-19 response, threatening the lives of all people in Myanmar.

FACEM Dr Rose Skalicky, an IFEM 2021 Humanitarian award recipient for her work in Myanmar said, ‘While doctors are imprisoned and unable to work, there are rising cases of the highly infectious Delta strain of COVID-19, as well as a resurgence of tropical diseases such as dengue which is putting private and public hospitals under immense and overwhelming stress’.

‘Occupancy in private and public hospitals is believed to be at critical levels and with the absence of crucial staff and a shortage of resources, the health system is believed to be overwhelmed. Resourcing of the health system is vitally important in the fight against COVID-19 and other infectious diseases’.

Dr Skalicky said, ‘So we again call for the safe and unconditional release of doctors held in Myanmar, including Professor Maw Maw Oo and Professor Htar Htar Lwin’.

Media contact: Melissa Howard [email protected] 0427 621 857

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