Monday, 21 June 2021

By Tin Soe

Maungdaw, Arakan State: The Rohingya community in Maungdaw is facing discrimination from a blood bank officer at Maungdaw General Hospital, according to a resident from Maungdaw.

Aung Kyaw Thein, the hospital’s blood officer, required Rohingya blood donors to submit extra forms and has declined to take their blood for emergencies, even when the concerned medical officers ask for blood donations, the resident said.

Action contre la Faim (ACF) yesterday admitted Norah , a poor, pregnant Rohingya woman who was in need of an emergency operation according to a medical doctor’s advice, said a relative of Norah.

“The doctor asked for two bottles of blood for operation and needed it urgently. I asked the Rohingya Youth Group to help by donating blood for the operation and the group agreed.”

Two Rohingya youths went to the hospital to donate blood, and the duty medical officer gave directions for them to go to the blood bank of the hospital where Aung Kyaw Thein is in charge of the donation process. Aung Kyaw Thein took blood from one of the youths, but the other was rejected as he was not listed in the blood bank, said a member of the youth group.

“To give a blood donation, it is necessary to be registered first with the blood bank. But this was the first time we heard of this policy.”

“Next, we brought another young Rohingya who had given blood at the hospital before, but the blood bank officer again declined to accept the youth’s blood, even though the need was urgent. The young man had given blood five months earlier, but the officer said that he must wait a longer time before donating again,” the member said.

“We know that a person is able to donate blood again after three months.”

“The officer asked to bring a Rakhine from Block Three to donate blood, even though the Rakhine will ask to be paid for giving blood.”

It has been learned that the hospital’s officer, Aung Kyaw Thein, is from Block Three, so it is suspected that he wanted to get money from the Rohingya community for the blood.

The Médecins sans Frontières-Holland (AZG) and ACF, NGOs helps the residents of Maungdaw who are not able to afford to go to the hospital to deliver babies, as the hospital asks 50,000 kyat for normal deliveries and more than 500,000 kyat for emergency cases, which is not affordable for poor people, said an officer from an NGO.

“NGOs need to follow up the cases after admitting a patient to the hospital, to look after what is going on with the patient and to check whether or not the medical services are going smoothly.”

Sajeeda, who hails from Nurullah Village of Maungdaw, was admitted on January 17 by AZG’s field officer Nur Hakim because of bleeding. She was kept in the hospital and was asked to pay 50,000 kyat by the hospital staff for treatment. However, Sajeeda was unable to pay the amount requested. The hospital released her the next day, even though she was still suffering from bleeding.

“If the AZG and ACF staff looks after the patient, cases like this will not happen, and the NGOs will not lose their funds,” 

“The hospital staff often treats patients brutally while they are in the hospital if the staff doesn’t get any money from them. Cruel and inhumane methods have even been used with delivery patients while they are in the operation room,” said a woman who previously suffered at the hospital.