Many internally displaced people (IDPs) at IDP camps in Arakan State are reportedly suffering from the seasonal flu.
There are many people at the Nyaung Chaung IDP camp in Kyauktaw Township who are suffering from symptoms such as fever, runny nose, cough and body aches, said Ko Khaing Myo Aung, a camp official.
He told DMG that an average of one person in every IDP household was infected with the seasonal flu and that the number of cases was higher due to overcrowding in the camp.
Authorities have ordered the health department to open clinics in IDP camps to provide proper healthcare services to IDPs three times a month, but healthcare workers have struggled to provide adequate medical care to IDPs on the ground.
“I want the health department to provide full healthcare to those who are sick with seasonal flu. IDPs who are struggling to make ends meet do not have access to adequate medical care,” Ko Khaing Myo Aung added.
Dr. Soe Win Paing, assistant director of Arakan State’s Department of Public Health, told DMG that the department is providing medical care to those in IDP camps in the respective townships and plans to provide medical care to IDPs twice a week.
“Health workers are currently vaccinating the people with the Covid-19 vaccine, and may not be able to travel to IDP camps to provide medical care,” he said.
U Thein Kyaw Mra, an IDP from the Pi Pin Yin IDP Camp in Mrauk-U Township, said that people infected with seasonal flu in IDP camps have to use medicines from nearby pharmacies because they have no money to get treatment at hospitals or local clinics.
“I could not get out of bed because of the seasonal flu and could not afford to buy medicine. That’s why I want to urge the health department staff and senior government officials to provide full healthcare for IDPs,” said an IDP woman from Mya Tadaung IDP camp in Mrauk-U Township.
Elderly people and children are more likely to be infected with seasonal flu in IDP camps, according to camp officials. IDPs also face food shortages at many of Arakan State’s displacement camps.
Dr. Myo Nyunt, a physician at the Waibula clinic in Sittwe, told DMG that influenza is most prevalent during the period between the end of the monsoon season and the beginning of winter, and spreads faster among those who are immunocompromised.