Myanmar faces a health emergency as its military regime targets doctors.

Myanmar faces a health emergency as its military regime targets doctors.

In recent weeks, Myanmar’s security forces have intensified their crackdown on doctors who oppose the military junta that seized power 14 months ago. Doctors have been at the forefront of a nationwide civil disobedience movement that has crippled the economy, and the regime has targeted health care workers from the start.

The security forces have arrested doctors at their homes and hospitals, revoked the licenses of prominent physicians, searched hospitals for wounded resistance fighters and threatened to close health care facilities that employ doctors opposing the regime.

The harassment and arrest of doctors who oppose the regime comes as the country faces a continuing health emergency because of a severe shortage of doctors, a chronic lack of resources and the closing of many hospitals and clinics.

Nearly one million children are not receiving routine immunizations, leaving them vulnerable to measles and other diseases, and nearly 5 million children are missing out on vitamin A supplements, putting them at risk of infections and blindness, according to UNICEF.

Throughout the country, barely 40 percent of the population is fully vaccinated for Covid-19, and many patients are left without routine care. Needed operations are difficult to schedule.

Doctors say that health care has improved somewhat in recent months in Yangon, Myanmar’s largest city, with many physicians returning to work. But anti-regime doctors estimate that hundreds of people are still dying each week because of the collapse of the health care system.

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