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22 February 2010: Patients in Falam civil hospital, Chin state western Burma have complained of discrimination, when it comes to paying for medical facilities.

Patient parties not only have to pay for medicines and operation fees to doctors or nurses but also have to pay additional charges such as for entrance tickets, beds and to buy gift for doctors, a report said.

“We have to pay Kyat 500 for a ticket, Kyat 500 for a bed and Kyat 500 worth of gifts for the doctor. For the poor and the villagers from remote areas it becomes an insurmountable problem. Meanwhile, well to do families can access medical aid without charge, for medical facilities provided by the government but the poor are made to pay high costs,” said a local in Falam town.

A surgeon Dr. Mrs. KyuKyu Hlaing takes Kyat 30,000 for childbirth in the hospital. Sometimes two nurses also demand Kyat 5000 from mothers of newborns, said a patient in the hospital.

A local in Falam town told Khonumthung News that after his wife gave birth having spent more than one lakh Kyat, one of the nurses asked him to purchase three envelopes before the mother was discharged.

“I had no idea why but I had to purchase them. One was for the fee of OG admission -- Kyat 35,000 for doctor Chhu Chhu Hlai, the other envelope was for Kyat 15,000 to the helper of the head doctor and the last one was a gift of Kyat 5000 to another assistant doctor. I could not refuse any of them because others also pay,” the father said.

A source said that workers in the hospital also demand Kyat 8000 for checking blood of volunteers keen on donating. Some doctors allegedly sell medicines which have ‘Not for Sale’ written on it and are provided by the government.

There are no bed sheets or clothes for the patients in the hospital. Only after the Prime Minister visited the hospital recently was it provided to patients. There are 200 beds in Falam civil hospital and more than 10 mothers who were admitted for childbirth in 2010.- Khonumthung News

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