WHO condoles death of staff in Myanmar, condemns targeting of health workers involved in COVID19 response

New Delhi:  The World Health Organization is deeply saddened at the death of its personnel during a security incident in Rakhine district of Myanmar. Mr Pyae Sone Win Maung, succumbed to injuries sustained during the incident in Minbya Township in Rakhine State on Monday evening, while driving a WHO vehicle from Sittwe to Yangon that was transporting COVID19 surveillance samples in support of the Ministry of Health and Sports.

“This incident once again puts the spotlight on the extreme hardships being faced by our corona warriors – our doctors, nurses, other health workforce – especially while working in security compromised and hard-to-reach areas as they continue to contribute their best to save lives,” said Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, World Health Organization South-East Asia.

As they deliver essential lifesaving services, our health workforce deserves gratitude, respect, appreciation and support for their selfless services, she said.

Unfortunately, we are seeing cases of attacks on doctors, on nurses, security personnel and all those who are assisting in testing, tracing contacts and enforcing physical distancing measures to stop COVID19.

“WHO condemns all kinds of physical, verbal or psychological violence against health workforce,” the Regional Director said.

Governments and communities themselves need to address the concerns, fears, and misconceptions that may be triggering such incidents.

A pandemic like disease does not distinguish between borders and people, and if the virus is not contained it will endanger all.

WHO appeals to all to facilitate the work of our health workforce who are putting their lives at risk to save our lives, the Regional Director said, adding “we should care for those who care for us.”