A medical expert in the Kachin Independence Organisation centre of Laiza has warned that Chinese medicines being used to treat people displaced by fighting in the region are ineffective and could have serious long-term side effects.
U Lian Hai, deputy head of Laiza Township Hospital, the only hospital in the area, told The Myanmar Times on July 8 that despite these concerns Chinese medicine was all the hospital had access to since the fighting started in June 2011. He said.
“We are relying only on Chinese medicine. Most of the time it causes allergic [reactions]. We can’t get any other medicine since the Myitkyina-Bhamo road was cut off, we use the same dose as for Thai or Indian medicine based on the grams [of active ingredients] mentioned on the bottles. But when we do this, the [Chinese medicine] is not effective.”
Instructions and ingredients on medicine are only in Chinese language, which he said was “risky” for long-term use because it was hard to know the possible side-effects. U Lian Hai said.
“We are using it because we have no choice. We want to use medicine from inside the country. We have difficulties and we need help,”
He urged humanitarian groups from inside Myanmar to provide the hospital with an alternative source of pharmaceuticals, but warned that Chinese officials also inspected vehicles bound for Laiza closely.
“They can [bring medicine] through to Laiza [from inside Myanmar] via Muse and China. Not a big amount but like one bag or box. I think if groups want to help, they will be able to find ways.”