Interview with Ma Wai, the founder of ‘Kayuna Mee Eain’  mobile medical team

In line with its slogan of ‘providing assistance while giving medical treatment’, “Kayuna Mee Eain’ mobile medical team  is giving medical treatments to the members of ethnic armed organizations and people defence forces, as well as the local people and the internally displaced persons.

The interview with Ma Wai, the founder of this medical team, is about their difficulties and challenges in their works.

TLT: Could you explain the formation of ‘Kayuna Mee Eain’ mobile medial team?

Ma Wai: Our foundation was first established two months after the coup. We systematically comprised the group with medical team, defense team, accountant team and news and information team. We use the codes instead of participant’s name. We expected many coup dissidents would have to take shelter at ethnic armed organizations due to human rights violation of military as in 1988 Uprising.

 With the help of former 88 generation leader, we discussed with some EAO leaders how we could provide humanitarian assistance to the coup dissidents when they took shelter at EAOs. We were concerned about the living of youth in the remote areas. Since then, I collected medicines from the donors, and shared the medicines. We arranged shelters for our CDM medical experts and members, and allocated medicines. Then, we began to provide medical treatments and medicines. We implemented our project to supply the basic needs amid the armed clashes. At that time, people defense forces have not been formed yet. At present, our mobile medical team is giving medical treatments to both civilians and guerilla forces even at the frontlines.

TLT: What are the objectives of your foundation, and which challenges are you facing?

Ma Wai: Our objectives include the establishment of coordination among people’s defense forces, building mutual trusts between PDFs and EAOs, and making friendly relations with local people. Now, we have set up a battalion clinic and providing healthcare services and medical treatments at two local clinics and with mobile medical teams.

 We have many difficulties in these works. We recently created our social media page. Our foundation has entered two years period. We could not publicly raise fund because we have to live and work in low profile. This is our first difficulty. The second one is we need a good car with 4-wheel drive for carrying our patients or for the logistics of our team members as we are operating in the jungle with rough grounds. This 4-wheel drive car could make the patients comfortable.

Our mobile medical teams need to stand by with the cars at the designated place to save the life of our PDFs. It will be too late to search a car only when someone was injured. So, the medical team needs to be ready during the conflicts. A young PDF member died of severe bleeding from his thigh injury. It is a very unreasonable   loss. We could not give him medical treatment or first aid in time. It is the time to consider not to happen such loss again. I would like to request for a car. The donors do not need to give us money, but just a car.

The third requirements are oxygen cylinders, patient beds and solar panels for the battalion clinic. It is not convenient to use power generator in the jungle clinic. Solar panel doe not make sound. We provide medical treatment to all the people without discrimination against any resistance groups, regardless of any PDF and any EAO. So, our medical team expect the required equipment from the donors.

TLT: Which difficulties your foundation face to get medicines which were restricted by the junta regime?

Ma Wai: We have many difficulties in purchasing and carrying medicines. We cannot buy medicines whenever we can purchase. Some companies are not willing to sell more medicines after one or two purchases. Some drug stories are reluctant to sell us the medicines. After we got the medicines, we have to avoid the military checkpoints. In some occasions, the military seized our medicines.

After we passed through these obstacles, we faced some difficulties in transporting the medicines to the clinics. Some local people did not dare to carry the medicines. Sometimes, my husband and me drove our own cars, and passed through the checkpoints of border guard forces.  We had to carry these medical items amid many risks. When we got the medicines from the neighbouring country through border lines, we had to shoulder these items to Myanmar side. The medicines are expensive in the neighbouring country and the transportation cost is high. So, it is very risky for us to get medicines. I bear this responsibilities as a founder of this medical team. These works have improved now, and thanks to all for this.

TLT: What are the most common diseases of IDPs? What kind of assistance is needed for them?

Ma Wai: The most common disease of IDPs and PDFs are hypertension, diabetics, weakness, malaria, runny-nose and cough.  Diarrhoea is found in monsoon.

TLT: What are the situations of military’s offensive attacks, human rights abuses and airstrikes in ethnic areas?

Ma Wai: Military is frequently carrying out offensive attacks on Kawgareik, Kawnwe and Ywathit villages, with frequent firing heavy weapon shelling and airstrikes, causing great losses of public property. Three patients were hit in the bombing over an IDP camp. Surveillance aircrafts are seen these days. The military deliberately fire heavy weapon shelling. The military do not spare either IDPs or victims of armed conflict. They even burnt people alive.  There are no enough words to express deep suffering of people.  The locals invite our medical team to give medical treatment to their wounded buffalos. We have decided to provide medical treatments to our people as far as we can. As my small private car was useful in rain season, we had to go on foot, shouldering medical boxes and bags from village to village. We are always ready to help people in needs. We have entirely devoted in this revolution.

TLT: What are the future plans of ‘Kayuna Mee Eain’ mobile medical team?

Ma Wai: We have many planned activities in the future. At the moment, we are sharing medicines to the resistance forces in line with our slogan of ‘providing assistance while giving medical treatment’. Sometimes, we prepared some foods asked by members of resistance forces. Some well-wishers donate cash for foods, and we prepared meals for our fighters at the frontlines. When they asked to eat pilaf, we raised funds to cook it. We have to cook it over 300 packs each time.

Our next step is ‘library project’. We will set up a library at the hospital, as well as a mobile library, for the patients, our guerillas at the frontlines, locals and IDPs. It is aimed to promote reading habits of our people as they have no access to education while they are living in the jungles. This plan is believed to make close relations with the youth and the locals. It is a kind of helping the youth and locals to a certain extent. Well-wishers are asked to contact us through messenger of our social media page for book donations.

TLT: Does NUG provide medical supplies to local healthcare teams? What do you want to ask to the NUG?

Ma Wai: Our mobile medical team hardly received supplies form the NUG. We don’t want to blame our government as we understand they are doing their best. However, as a citizen, I want to advise NUG that they need to know the number of clinics in each battalion and who are operating mobile medical teams. After collecting the data, they should officially inform the respective battalions about the medical in-charge appointed by NUG. Only then, we could contact these in-charges through official procedures for the medicines or other basic needs. These officials could realize our needs. If this mechanism is not set up, we cannot get access to our needs.

As our medical teams were well organized, we can work systematically in procedures. Battalion medical in-charges should thoroughly review each report and inspect the situations. We are not employees. Although we have line of management, we should work together at all levels for better results. This is my suggestion to our government. Moreover, NUG should contact those who are working on grounds to know their needs and to give advice on their works.  I believe that such collaboration could bring about better results.

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