Health workers close junta-administered hospital in Sagaing

Around 20 staff walk out of Budalin Hospital and discharge the facility’s few remaining patients after resistance forces ask them to join the Civil Disobedience Movement

A hospital under the junta’s administration in Sagaing Region’s Budalin Township ceased operations after the remaining health workers left the site on Sunday in accordance with the Civil Disobedience Movement, according to local residents.

Nearly 20 staff, including four doctors, walked out of their jobs after area resistance forces reportedly asked them to participate in the general strike which began after the February 2021 coup. 

A source close to the guerrilla groups said that they had sent a message to the remaining Budalin hospital workers on Sunday asking them to respond by that afternoon regarding whether they would leave their posts and join the movement, which aims to topple the junta.

“They didn’t reply, they just left at once. They closed the hospital themselves,” the source said of the health staff.

Starting that morning, the few patients who had previously been admitted were discharged from the hospital, locals said. 

“There were only two or three patients. Now, there is no one in the hospital,” a Budalin resident said, noting that on Monday, hospital staff were still seen carrying supplies out of the facility.  

She added that most people had avoided using the junta’s hospital and had been opting for service in private hospitals or clinics in nearby cities like Monywa, one hour’s drive away.

Medical workers from Budalin Hospital in 2020, when it was under the now ousted National League for Democracy government (Information ministry, now controlled by junta)

The source close to the resistance said that the publicly mandated National Unity Government (NUG) had also supported healthcare provision in Budalin Township, where guerrilla forces have a significant presence.

Myanmar Now was unable to reach an NUG spokesperson for further comment on the situation in Budalin.

In early August, local anti-junta defence forces raided the military council’s fire station in downtown Budalin and detained more than 20 people, including the fire department chief. Since then, most junta-controlled infrastructure in the township has reportedly been underfunctioning.

The Brotherhood Alliance of ethnic armed organisations, including Ta’ang National Liberation Army, Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army, and the Arakan Army have been carrying out an offensive throughout northern Shan State since late October and have driven the military out of several towns. Other resistance forces have launched coordinated attacks in Sagaing Region, capturing the towns of Kawlin and Khampat, as well as Rihkhawdar in Chin State.

Striking civil servants from Kawlin, which has been under the control of the resistance since early November, have since been invited by the NUG’s District Coordinating Committee for Emergency Administration to set up a local government in the town.

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