Flu season hits early

Traveling around the United States, I often see local grocery stores and pharmacies cajoling me to get my flu shot.

In eastern Burma, however, the flu season has arrived. With the Burma regime providing no community health care services, villagers rely on backpack medics and their associated village health volunteers for prevention and care. Unfortuately, the medics have their hands full as over 1,400 villagers in northern Pa-pun Township of Karen State have come down with the flu. Cooling temperatures and high humidity are viewed as the instigators of the outbreak.

Our friend and backpack medic colleague, Saw WIn Kyaw, shared that at one school, 400 of the 600 students have the flu. The medics have recommended that the school be closed until this outbreak ends. At the moment, the villages of Pla Koh and Ler Mu Plaw appear to be the epi-center of the outbreak. Backpack medics also are advising villagers to limit their travel in this area as a means to reduce the risk of the flu strain spreading to other villages.

With just 2 medic teams operating in the area, the Karen villagers are woefully short of medical care to handle such an outbreak.

Burma Humanitarian Mission supports the Backpack medics and these two teams in Pa-pun Township. The flu outbreak reminds us of the urgent necessity of our continued support to those living in eastern Burma as they have no alternatives.