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VOA Health Report Examines Health Needs In Burma Amid Recent Political Changes

This VOA Special English Health Report examines health needs in Burma, where “[h]ealth workers are warning about the spread of a form of drug-resistant malaria.” The report discusses recent political changes in the country, stating, “In the past year, Burma has opened its political system and reached cease-fire agreements with some ethnic militias,” but “many aid groups say their jobs have not gotten any easier.” The report states, “Until 2009, just three international non-governmental aid organizations had the required approvals to operate inside Burma,” but “[m]any were able to get a memorandum of understanding that allowed them to work without an official registration.”

But because of the recent political changes, “[h]eads of aid organizations say lower-level officials are now unclear about their powers and responsibilities,” the report notes, adding, “Still, aid groups warn that some issues — such as the drug-resistant malaria — may only get worse unless the government also takes action quickly.” The report quotes Frank Smithuis, founder of a group called Medical Action Myanmar, and Kelland Stevenson of Save the Children (4/10).