Prominent private hospital shut down by junta order in Mandalay 

The closure of Mingalar Hospital is part of the military regime’s ongoing persecution of healthcare providers suspected of participating in strikes organised by the Civil Disobedience Movement

Mingalar Hospital, a renowned 150-bed private medical facility in Mandalay’s Mahar Aungmyay Township, is preparing to transfer patients to other health centres following a military council order to suspend operations starting this Friday. 

Accusing the institution of employing doctors who took part in the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM), which is known for holding strikes in opposition to the coup regime, the junta issued an order on August 18 for the Mingalar Hospital to close temporarily in one week, according to Dr. Soe Thura Zaw, a CDM participant. 

He added that the military council’s decision was apparently motivated by the hospital’s hiring of two CDM doctors in 2022. 

“There was an incident a year ago when they found two CDM doctors were working at the hospital, but I don’t know why they’re only responding to that now,” Dr. Soe Thura Zaw told Myanmar Now on Tuesday. 

When Myanmar Now reached reception staff at the hospital’s front desk, they said they were preparing to move patients to other medical institutions and would not be accepting new patients on or after August 25. The reception personnel did not comment on the reasons the hospital was closing down. 

The forced suspension will have a significant impact on the hospital’s patients, according to Dr. Soe Thura Zaw. 

“Mingalar Hospital has a great deal of modern equipment and the capacity to provide its patients with adequate treatment. This lawless closure imposed by the military will cause major harm to patients who made appointments in advance and were waiting to receive treatment there,” he said.

Many medical practitioners supported the CDM when it arose to resist the military coup of February 2021, with some 80 percent of Mandalay’s medical care providers joining the movement.

Maj-Gen Ko Ko Oo, who heads the military’s central regional command headquartered in Mandalay, demanded in March of 2022 that private hospitals and healthcare providers submit daily patient logs to the military. 

In October of last year, regime authorities arrested more than 30 CDM healthcare workers,  including a specialist and lecturer at the University of Medicine, Mandalay. 

The military also revoked medical licences for CDM participants, and in December 2022 arrested three care providers, including a specialist, working at Mandalay’s Nandaw and Myodaw hospitals. 

These hospitals were among several medical facilities that the military forcibly shut down in late 2022 based on allegations that they employed CDM participants. Junta authorities also arrested the owners of the Kyal Sin Lin and Duwun hospitals in January of 2023.

According to Dr. Soe Thura Zaw, the military has targeted smaller clinics as well as hospitals, and at least 15 private clinics have also shut down, forcing hospitals that were shut down to transfer high-priority patients to other facilities that could provide adequate care. 

Sources in the Mandalay healthcare workers community claim that hundreds of doctors and other care providers have lost their jobs due to the military’s constant persecution. 

These conditions have compelled many of the providers who were striking in support of the CDM to return to work.

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