Pregnant Women Lack Healthcare In War-torn Shwegu Township

Pregnant women forced to flee into the jungle during the rainy season from sit-tat (Burma army) offensives aren’t getting prenatal care in the southeast of Shwegu Township in Kachin State.

There are about 50 pregnant women from 12 villages in the township in Kachin State who have fled the clashes between the regime and allied groups, the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and the People’s Defence Force – Kachin Region (PDF-K). Some who have already given birth after finding temporary shelter are in urgent need of maternal medical care and nutritious food.

“Four pregnant women gave birth last month,” said a midwife from Mang Weing, who helped with the deliveries. Giving birth in the jungle is very dangerous, she explained.

“Most pregnant women cannot go to the clinic in town,” said a woman whose pregnant daughter fled Si Tha village. The woman was referring to Shwegu town, which is about 10 miles from the jungle encampment where the family now lives.

The women need medicines, including vaccines, which were available at a clinic in Si Tha before the fighting began, but now everyone fled, including the nurse, the midwife said. Many were last vaccinated in March. Now some are approaching their third trimester and the second vaccination is due, while some have not even received their first inoculation.

Since 20 March, the sit-tat has been on the offensive in the area. If they suffer causalities during ambushes by the KIA and the PDF-K, the Burma army retaliates by burning down people’s houses. Residents of Mang Weing, Nawng Latt Gyi, Namlan, Si Tha, Si Thaung and seven other villages have all been affected by the violence and no one has been able to go home since.

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