Myanmar junta closes hospital for employing protesters

Only 295 private hospitals nationwide have business licenses from the military, a ministry spokesperson said.
By RFA Burmese
2024.05.03
Myanmar junta closes hospital for employing protesters Aye Thandar Hospital in Mon state’s capital of Mawlamyine on Sept. 6, 2024.
Aye Thandar Hospital

Junta officials shuttered a hospital in southeast Myanmar for hiring staff who oppose the military regime, sources close to the hospital told Radio Free Asia. 

Military junta administrators ordered the private Aye Thandar hospital, in the Mon State capital of Mawlamyine, to close for three months, the sources said. 

Military junta officials, including staff of the junta-led State Ministry of Health, sent a notice telling  the hospital to close from Wednesday, one of the sources said.

“It was ordered to close for three months, not even two months like the hospitals in Yangon and Mandalay,” said the source, who declined to be identified for fear of reprisals, referring to hospitals closed in Myanmar’s two biggest cities for similar reasons.

“They said it was temporarily closed for employing Civil Disobedience Movement workers,” the source said.

RFA called Mon State’s junta spokesperson Aung Myat Kyaw Sein to ask about the directive, but he did not answer his telephone.

The Civil Disobedience Movement, which at one time included more than 350,000 striking state employees erupted in opposition to military rule after a coup in 2021, when the generals ousted an elected government led by democracy champion Aung San Suu Kyi.

Doctors and nurses were at the forefront of the protests that swept the country in the weeks after the coup but 

Teachers, doctors, and other public employees were later  forced to make difficult economic decisions to secure their livelihoods. 

Many medical professionals have sought work at institutions opposed to the junta or providing healthcare to ethnic minority insurgent organizations battling the military, sometimes making themselves a target in the process. 

The regime’s minister of health, Thet Khaing Win, told an annual Myanmar Private Hospitals Association ceremony on Wednesday that private healthcare providers that failed to comply with business license rules would face action in accordance with the private health businesses law.

In all, 295 private hospitals had been granted business licenses throughout the country, he said.

Authorities in Yangon closed two hospitals this year, both for two months.  

Six hospitals in Mandalay, where doctors launched the Civil Disobedience Movement in 2021, were forced to close in 2022 after being accused of employing workers opposed to  the junta. 

Translated by RFA Burmese. Edited by Kiana Duncan and Mike Firn.

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