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Thursday May 29, 2008

Mercy prepares 180 physicians for service in Irrawaddy Delta

KUALA LUMPUR: Mercy Malaysia has trained 180 doctors from the Myanmar Medical Association in Yangon for deployment in the Irrawaddy Delta.

Mercy president Datuk Dr Jemilah Mahmood said yesterday the local doctors there had volunteered to either work with Mercy or treat Cyclone Nargis victims at the delta’s southern region.

Dr Jemilah, who left on May 5 for Myanmar, returned on Tuesday night. Her colleagues Dr Heng Aik Cheng and Hew Cheong Yew, who trained the Myanmar team, returned last Sunday.

Medical deployment: Dr Jemilah discussing her experience in helping Cyclone Nargis victims in Myanmar.

She said Mercy had sent out 16 local doctors to the southern part

of the delta where they would serve on a rotation basis with another 16.

Nine of the Myanmar doctors are based at the five joint Mercy and Save the Children UK (SC UK) treatment camps in Myaungmya, Nadupdaw and Pyinkhayang.

Another seven doctors are on afloating hospital which is a converted luxury cruise ship loaned to SC UK by a tour operator in Myanmar.

The hospital made stops between Ngapudaw and Myaungmya so doctors could treat patients, said Dr Jemilah.

About 2.4 million Myanmars are affected by the cyclone.

Dr Jemilah said while the rainy season normally saw a rise in illnesses like malaria and diarrhoea, the effects of the cyclone were making residents more vulnerable.

“If we do not get to them now and give them proper food, shelter and water, they will be at more risk,” she said.

She said the victims still needed medication, shelter and water purification tablets.

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