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Third UNICEF air shipment of essential drugs to help Rakhine flood victims

© UNICEF/Myanmar/2007/Kyaw Kyaw Aung
A UNICEF Essential Drug Kit B is carried through the mud-splashed doors of Thandwe district hospital last week.

YANGON, 20 July, 2007 – Ten more essential drug kits and an additional 2,000 packets of oral rehydration salts arrived at Thandwe Airport today to help flood affected communities in Rakhine State in Myanmar.

These complement a shipment of six essential drug kits and 2,000 packets of oral rehydration salts sent on Tuesday.

Rakhine State, on the west coast bordering Bangladesh, was hit by torrential rains at the start of July, which created a carpet of mud covering wells and latrines, as well as the floors of hospitals, schools and houses. The mud destroyed rice stocks and swept away clothes and utensils from houses, as well as destroying supplies and equipment in health posts and schools.

“We remain deeply concerned about the possibility of a major outbreak of diarrhoea or other waterborne disease,” UNICEF Representative, Ramesh Shrestha, said today. “We are doing everything we can to help resupply health posts and hospitals so they have the capacity to respond quickly.”

Mr Shrestha said that UNICEF was sending more specialist staff to help its field officer in Rakhine State with a comprehensive assessment of other needs.
The first airfreight of supplies, which arrived in Thandwe on July 10, contained one Essential Drug Kit A, one Essential Drug Kit B, 1,000 packets of oral rehydration salts, 36,000 water purification tablets, and 500 emergency hygiene posters.

The medicines in Kit A are in tablet form and are for resupply of health posts. They help treat fever, infections, diarrohea and respiratory illness. The kit also contains paediatric vitamins and other supplies to help children, pregnant mothers and those who are breast feeding their babies.

The medicines in Kit B are in injectable form and are to help hospitals deal with more severe infections and injuries, as well as to carry out operations.
Most of these supplies in the July 10 shipment were used to resupply Thandwe Hospital and health posts. Most of the July 17 shipment – five Kit A sets and 1,000 packets of oral rehydration salts – was sent to Gwa and have been distributed to the Kyeintali Station Hospital, rural health centre and other units.

“Today’s shipment included nine Kit A sets, 1 Kit B set and another 2,000 packets of oral rehydration salts,” Mr Shrestha said. “The Kit B set will go to Gwa, and the remaining supplies are now in Thandwe Hospital ready for further resupply.”

Mr Shrestha said that UNICEF had trucks on standby to drive to Thandwe as soon as the road was cleared. The trucks will carry bulk supplies including chlorine-based water purification powder (which can not be sent by air), and family kits containing clothes, soap, matches, candles, eating and cooking utensils, mosquito bed nets and tarpaulins for shelter.



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