MYANMAR/MSF-USA

(WHY ARE WE THERE?)

 - Endemic/Epidemic disease

- Health care exclusion

- Natural disaster

Staff at work in the dispensary of one of the MSF clinics providing care and treatment for patients with HIV/AIDS, TB, or sexually transmitted disease in Yangon

There is an ongoing medical humanitarian crisis in Rakhine state, and there are concerns about the increasing challenges faced by those assisting people in need of healthcare

Violence and segregation continue in Rakhine state, more than 100,000 people remain displaced, living in appalling conditions in camps, and almost entirely cut off from healthcare and other basic services including clean water.

Minority Rohingya remain extremely vulnerable, MSF is striving to overcome significant challenges and obstacles and provide free, high quality medical assistance.

Not to mention offering basic health care, obstetric services, mental healthcare, treatment for HIV/AIDS and TB, and emergency referrals

So far:

TREATED: 10,816 patients, 84% of the national wide total

Staff worked in 10 townships across the state in fixed and mobile clinics in 24 camps for displaced people and a number of isolated villages.

Throughout 2013, MSF continue to urge the government and the communities of Rakhine to work together with international organizations to ensure that all patients in need of Emergency medical services could access the care regardless of their background ethnicity.

I have been preparing for this trip for months, and yet somehow, my brain wasn’t ready. It is only now, as I close the car door, that it clicks and the sight of my parents driving off – I am leaving. I am excited for the adventure, nervous to be leaving my home, apprehensive about the unknown waiting for me in Yangon.

Months ago, a secured hospital setting in Los Angeles to free myself up to do MSF field assignments full time. The staff at my clinic have been approaching me to chat, smiling and curious, supportive of my plan to work with MSF, yet maybe a little wondering if I am crazy. Some of them ask me if I will be safe. I reassure them that I will be fine, Everyone - the clinic staff, my friends, my Facebook friends, the residents I work with, my family – commend me for doing this. They are proud and happy that I am doing something good for the world.  I am too, and I appreciate their support, but I also feel a little funny when they congratulate me. I think it’s because I’m not doing MSF to be altruistic. In fact, my motives are a lot more selfish than it would seem.Sure, I’m volunteering to make sacrifices to work and live in difficult conditions. And it’s true that not everyone would want to do it. And MSF is a truly good organization, one that I have been consistently been dreaming to work with.But why am I doing this? I am doing it because I feel as if before this point, I had been living my life in black and white, and suddenly everything is in color. The work will be difficult and challenging, but so much more exciting.When I do a c-section, I really do save a life. Even a patient with a simple urinary tract infection was immensely grateful for my care, because they have so few options. The patients are so much sicker than they are at home, and I revelled in the challenge of using my wits to fix the problem without all the tools I normally have.As I look around in the plane, I take a deep breath and sit back. This is really real.  To operate, to work on very sick patients, to bring them back from the brink of death. To be scared, to be challenged, even to be frustrated. For me, this isn’t a sacrifice; it’s a pleasure. I know that all patient cases won't be successful and end happily and I'll struggle with reminding myself of all that has been accomplished versus the failures.

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