Myanmar weathered the early storms of the COVID-19 pandemic with prompt introduction of containment measures in spite of its scarce resources. Prevention measures were applied also during the holding of General Elections on January 18, 2021, in which a large majority of the population voted for Ang Sang Suu Kyi and her National League of Democracy (NLD) party
However, the military coup on February 1, detaining Myanmar’s elected leaders and placing the entire country under a ‘State of Emergency’, lead to the devastation of all sectors, with healthcare one of the worst affected.
With Myanmar facing the third wave of the pandemic triggered by the Delta variant, large numbers of patients were forced to go through the illness in their own homes due to a severe lack of medical services depending on the help of volunteers and striking Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM) health personnel.
During the height of the surge, Yangon’s crematoriums worked around the clock to burn the dead.
Rosalia Sciortino is an associate professor at the Institute for Population and Social Research (IPSR), Mahidol University and director SEA Junction in Bangkok, Thailand. She is emeritus regional director for East and South-East Asia with Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) in Singapore and for the Rockefeller Foundation in Bangkok.