Junta officials close large Mandalay hospital for 3 months

The order follows the arrest of two doctors who joined the anti-junta Civil Disobedience Movement.
By RFA Burmese
Junta officials close large Mandalay hospital for 3 months Medical workers are seen at Mingalar Private Hospital in Mandalay, Myanmar, June 6, 2023. The junta’s Ministry of Health has ordered the hospital closed for three months starting Aug. 25.
Credit: Mingalar Private Hospital

Military officials have ordered a 500-bed hospital in Mandalay region to shut down for three months after it allowed two physicians who joined the anti-junta Civil Disobedience Movement to work there, according to sources close to the hospitals.

Patients at the hospital, which has more than 700 employees, are being prepared to transfer to other private hospitals ahead of the Friday closure, a resident close to the hospital told Radio Free Asia.

The Central Committee on Private Healthcare Services under the junta’s Ministry of Health issued the order on Aug. 18, a hospital official told RFA. 

No details have been released by the junta about why Mingalar Private Hospital in Maha Aung Myay township in Mandalay city was forced to close, or exactly how the patients currently being treated at the hospital should be managed.

“When I asked the people who were admitted to the hospital, they said that all of them must be discharged by the 25th,” the resident said. “It’s going to be closed starting on Aug. 25, according to the junta’s order, and some important patients are being sent to other available hospitals.”

But a doctor in Mandalay who is knowledgeable about the situation said the order was based on the arrest of the two doctors. 

The doctors – an oncologist and a pediatric specialist – were arrested last year, and it was unclear why the junta was taking action now against one of the biggest private hospitals in Mandalay, he said.

Medical workers and staff are seen at Mingalar Private Hospital in Mandalay, Myanmar, June 6, 2023. Credit: Mingalar Private Hospital

Private clinics also targeted

The Civil Disobedience Movement has seen tens of thousands of Myanmar’s government employees leave their jobs in protest of the military’s February 2021 coup d’etat. 

According to the CDM Medical Network, more than 45,000 health workers and medical doctors are still participating in the movement. The network said that 853 doctors and health workers have been arrested for opposing the junta since the coup.

The status of the two arrested doctors from Mingalar Private Hospital was unknown this week.

RFA was unable to reach Dr. Than Naing Soe, spokesman for the junta’s Ministry of Health, by phone to ask about the closure.

There are more than 30 private hospitals in Mandalay. Five were shut down by the junta in 2022, according to locals. 

Private clinics have also been targeted, according to a CDM doctor in Mandalay who refused to be named for security reasons.

“Not just private hospitals, but some of my friends’ own clinics were forced to shut down by the junta for reasons like they didn’t have practicing licenses or their licenses were not renewed,” he said. “I myself am anxiously watching when my turn will come.”

Translated by Myo Min Aung. Edited by Matt Reed and Malcolm Foster.


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