A very severe COVID outbreak has hit Myanmar.
How did this happen?
There are a number of factors that can explain the ferocity of the epidemic in Myanmar.
The immunity among the population in Myanmar was very low at the start of this wave because the percentage of vaccinated people was very low (<5%) and the percentage of people that was infected previously, was very low, because the previous COVID waves in Myanmar were small. The new Delta variant, which is common in South and South-east Asia spreads much faster than previous COVID variants. The combination of low immunity and the new variant mutually reinforces each other leading to an extremely rapid spread. The health care services in the country are partly paralyzed because of the recent political circumstances. Sadly, this has lead to The Perfect (COVID) Storm.
Medical Action Myanmar started to prepare for this outbreak in May 2021, after we saw a rapid increase of COVID in neighbouring India.
We decided to buy oxygen concentrators and medicines and set up and support 10 COVID oxygen treatment centers for severe COVID patients in Yangon, Kayin, Kachin and Sagaing. We focus on the treatment of severely ill COVID patients, who have an oxygen saturation below 90% and are in urgent need of oxygen. We treat patients with oxygen, medicines and good nursing care. We are currently operating > 600 oxygen concentrators (which can provide oxygen to approximately 500 patients at a time, as some patients need 2 oxygen concentrators). We want to expand to 2,000 concentrators as soon as possible, but supply lines are slow. We know that our treatments are a drop in the ocean. But much better than doing nothing. MAM staff are working around the clock. I am extremely proud of them. All shops have been closed for 2 weeks and we drive around, knocking on doors of pharmacies to buy anything we can get. And after visiting all pharmacies, we are still severely short. We set up several temporary clinics. Flexible donations are needed to respond to the present crisis.
MAM spent about $500,000 in the first half of the year on medical relief not covered by long-term grants, and has been dipping into its reserves which is not doable in the long run.
If you would like to support our effort, please donate.