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WHO donates H1N1 vaccines to Burmese Ministry of Health

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  • WHO donates H1N1 vaccines to Burmese Ministry of Health

    <TABLE class=contentpaneopen><TBODY><TR><TD>WHO donates H1N1 vaccines to Burmese Ministry of Health </TD></TR><TR><TD vAlign=top>Report by Kon Chan </TD></TR><TR><TD class=createdate vAlign=top>Friday, 05 March 2010 16:36 </TD></TR><TR><TD vAlign=top>

    According New Light of Myanmar on March 4th, Burmese authorities have announced that only 63 Burmese citizens have been infected with H1N1 in 2010, and the disease is ?under control?; nevertheless, the World Health Organization (WHO) has opted to donate 4.5 million doses of H1N1 vaccine to the Burmese Ministry of Health.

    According to a staff member from the Emergency Department of Rangoon General Hospital, under the control of the Health Department of Rangoon Division, WHO officially announced the vaccine donation on February 27th of this year, after the spread of the illness seemed to be escalating during January and February 2010. Initially 900,000 vaccines will be distributed in early March, and the remaining 3 million-plus vaccines will be distributed an unspecified period of time later. Reportedly, WHO will give the vaccines directly the Burmese government?s Ministry of Health.

    This staff member informed IMNA that the vaccine prevents contraction of H1N1 for a year, and that priority for vaccinations will be given to pregnant women, health workers, and children. Regions of Burma suffering from recent outbreaks of H1N1 will receive supplies of the vaccine first.

    H1N1-affected areas in the country were Bahan, Tamwe, North Dagon, East Dagon, Shwepyitha, and Hlaing Tharyar Township in Rangoon Division; Tiddim Township in Chin State; and Kyaukme Township from Shan State.

    According to a report issued by the Burmese Ministry of Health this week, H1N1 spread in January and February 2010, but now, in early March, the outbreak has been completely controlled. Health monitoring continues, and the sale of chicken and duck products has been rigorously censured; businesses that wish to sell poultry products must obtains special permission.

    According to a nurse from Rangoon General Hospital, despite H1N1 outbreaks earlier this year, the larger Burmese population is exhibiting far less concern about the illness that it has during previous periods..

    "Many people in Burma don't care about H1N1. And also they don?t wear masks on their noses to protect their health. Today, I was waiting and watching the whole day, and nevertheless I just saw one person doing that. Because many people think that this disease can be cured very easily, so they don't care about it. Last year, many people cared about H1N1 because they heard that this disease was infecting many people. But now they don?t hear about this disease, which is why people are dying from H1N1 ? they don?t hear about this disease much [from the media]?, he added.

    This individual also reported to IMNA that he feared that due to misrepresentation of the disease in Burmese media, and the general unconcern of the country?s people regarding flue prevention measures, WHO might decide that the severity of H1N1 outbreaks in Burma have lessoned, and therefore might retract its offer of the vaccines.

    "Safety and security don't just happen, they are the result of collective consensus and public investment. We owe our children, the most vulnerable citizens in our society, a life free of violence and fear."
    -Nelson Mandela