DMG: What is the condition of the virus patients who are currently being treated at Maungdaw District General Hospital?
Dr. Nu Kaythi San: Five of the virus patients currently receiving treatment are on emergency oxygen. The rest of the patients are receiving regular medical treatment.
One of the problems for us is that for patients with the virus, there is sometimes a lack of oxygen. When we run out of oxygen, we refill it as much as we can. At the moment, the oxygen generator in the hospital is not operating well and there is a slight glitch, which means that the oxygen supply is cut off in the meantime. But for virus patients, we do our best to keep oxygen levels up.
The government has also provided us with the necessary medical supplies. But if there are too many people infected with the virus, we may experience a lack of oxygen and medicine. At present, there is enough medicine and oxygen for patients with the virus. Some donate oxygen to the hospital. We have already requested additional medical supplies. Officials say we can ask for medicine if we need it.
DMG: With Covid-19 cases now increasing day by day, what is the status of local people’s compliance with the infectious disease regulations in Maungdaw District?
Dr. Nu Kaythi San: The virus is spreading across Myanmar. If you do the testing, you will find more virus cases. Everyone has the potential to get the virus. But the severity of the disease may vary. So everyone needs to know how to stay disciplined and how to prevent Covid-19 infection. At present, I think the people in Maungdaw District are still very unregulated with regard to the virus. People are going without masks, and then when the health workers come, people pick up the mask and wear it. I don’t think the people are aware of the need to protect themselves against coronavirus. Officials and departments are working hard to enforce public discipline.
DMG: The death toll from the virus has risen across Arakan State. In Maungdaw District, five people have died from the virus. People are saying that these deaths are caused by the Covid-19 Delta variant. Is that right?
Dr. Nu Kaythi San: We have said before that those who are susceptible to Covid-19 may be in a bad condition. Once infected, people with a pre-existing condition need to be treated early. If you don’t receive effective treatment, you will die.
DMG: Most of the people infected with Covid-19 in Maungdaw District are illegal entrants and border guard police who were transferred [to the district from elsewhere]. So what do you think should be done to prevent such infections from happening again?
Dr. Nu Kaythi San: Given the current state of the Covid-19 spread in the whole country, anyone can be infected with the virus. It cannot be said that only the border guard police members were diagnosed with the virus. They also have had to move from many parts of the country to Maungdaw, so it is easy for them to spread the virus to each other. Currently, there is a high rate of Covid-19 infection in Maungdaw, but not many Maungdaw residents. In Maungdaw Township alone, the rate of virus infection is not very high.
DMG: What message do you want to convey to the public to prevent the spread of the virus?
Dr. Nu Kaythi San: It is important to protect yourself first. The Health Department has given instructions and awareness campaigns on how to prevent Covid-19. People need to follow these instructions. The main thing is to keep ourselves as private as possible. People should not go to crowded places and should not go out for any [non-essential] reason. People need to wear face masks if they have to go out.
If you suspect that you have been infected with the virus, you must be isolated from your family and always wear a mask. If you have been infected with the virus, you will need to notify the Health Department and get the necessary tests done. If we follow all of these things, we can control the spread of the disease.
DMG: What else do you want to add?
Dr. Nu Kaythi San: Those who suspect they have Covid-19 in Maungdaw Township are tested free of charge twice a day, at 11 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. For the suspected Covid-19 patients, a clinic is set up at Maungdaw District General Hospital. The clinic has medical staff who will treat patients from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. If people suspect they are sick, they need to come to the clinic.