Military officials in Mandalay have revoked the licences of medical professionals and threatened to shut down clinics that employ doctors taking part in the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM) against the junta.
Major General Ko Ko Oo, who heads the military’s central regional command, called a meeting with the owners of private hospitals in the city on March 12 and said they would also have to submit lists of patients to the junta every day.
The junta also recently revoked the licences of 14 medical practitioners in the city, including teaching professors and specialists, who are taking part in CDM, according to Dr Soe Thura Zaw, who is one of the 14.
The demand for daily patient lists is believed to be an attempt to prevent hospitals from treating injured People’s Defence Force (PDF) fighters, and a way of tipping the military off to their whereabouts if they seek medical care.
“They don’t want doctors and hospitals secretly treating PDF members,” said another Mandalay-based doctor, who asked not to be named.
Medics said that submitting patient lists would be illegal and would violate doctor-patient confidentiality and the patients’ right to privacy. It is unclear to what extent hospitals and clinics will comply with the order, or whether it will be enforced in other parts of Myanmar.
Dr Soe Thura Zaw said that under the Labor Law, doctors taking part in CDM can be fired from their jobs and have their medical licences revoked if they have been absent from their official places of work for more than three months.
“Everyone is facing all sorts of troubles under the military’s reign,” he said. “The only way to solve all those problems once and for all is to end the dictatorship for good.”
Medical professionals have been at the forefront of the movement to eliminate the military dictatorship since the immediate aftermath of last year’s coup, and were the first to refuse to work under the new junta.
About 80% of Mandalay’s medical personnel have joined the CDM, according to data compiled by members of the movement, with many opting to treat people privately rather than work under the junta-controlled health ministry.
Medics have suffered brutal reprisals for challenging the military. In August last year Dr Maung Maung Nyein Tun died in custody of Covid-19 after being beaten and denied medical treatment.
Dr Thiha Tin Tun was among over 100 people shot dead by security forces on March 27 last year.
In June, the former head of Myanmar’s Covid-19 vaccine rollout, Dr Htar Htar Lin, was arrested and charged with high treason after she sought to prevent the junta from accessing funds meant to fight the virus.