Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Backpack medics

The oppressively dire situation in Burma calls for creative, and very brave solutions to medical problems among the minority groups. Sometimes these medics are called "backpack medics" and sometimes "barefoot doctors". And, without them the suffering of Burma's oppressed peoples would be just too awful to imagine.

Backpack medics minister to rebels caught in crossfire - World - smh.com.au

HE IS not your average GP. The 32-year-old medic amputates legs with a Leatherman knife and has calf muscles that would put a tri-athlete to shame.

Small wonder when he has to dodge Burmese Army patrols in the Dawna Ranges in the country's Kayin (Karen) state. Karen rebels have been at war with the central government for 57 years, and providing medical services to people seen as sympathetic to the insurgents has not been a priority. So were born the Backpack Medics, set up in 1998 by the Karen Health and Welfare Department to provide basic health care to Karen villagers caught in the crossfire. The medics are a small salve to a people under terrible duress.


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