Via The Irrawaddy: Insufficient Aid to Naga Region Contributes to More Measles Casualties. Excerpt:
The death toll from a measles epidemic has risen to 68 in Burma’s remote Naga Self-Administered Zone, according to a regional lawmaker and other relief workers providing support to the affected areas.
An emergency response team dispatched to the area says the situation is particularly critical in Kesan Salin and Kesan Karlan villages in the Dong Hee sub-township of Nanyun Township.
The spread of the outbreak has been linked to the poor transportation infrastructure in the mountainous region in Burma’s far north; with many areas only accessible by motorbike, the overland delivery of necessary medical aid and vaccinations has been difficult.
Sing Maung, the Sagaing Division parliamentarian representing Nanyun Constituency No.1, told The Irrawaddy that out of the 68 confirmed deaths, around 40 have been children under 10 years old, many of whom have been in his constituency.
“There are no medical doctors who have arrived yet to these areas,” he said, pointing out that he had been told that regional healthcare providers would be sent. After visiting multiple communities stricken with measles, he said that at least four villages urgently need physicians on standby to better control the disease and provide support and guidance regarding its prevention.
In early August, after the measles outbreak had been ongoing for two months and claimed 38 lives, the crisis received national attention from the public and the media; at the time, the illness had not yet been identified. The National Health Laboratory, under the department of Medical Services within the Ministry of Health and Sport, later confirmed the disease as measles in the Naga region’s Lahe Township, where the illness first appeared.
The lab, however, did not provide the same confirmation in Nanyun Township, where children afflicted with the illness also coughed blood and suffered from severe congestion.
Local government has been criticized by local activists for a slow and inefficient response to the epidemic.