Two very different views of health status and care in troubled Myanmar can be found on the websites listed below, which we’ve reduced to ‘tinyurl’ form for easy typing and access. First comes the upbeat Myanmar Ministry of Health’s own 2006 report, available in English at the WHO representative’s office in Rangoon.

In the Foreword, Minister of Health Prof Dr Kyaw Myint reports “With the prevalence of peace and tranquility all over the country, the Ministry could extend its services to hard to reach areas. With rapid globalization and liberalization of trade, and considering implications of these changes on health, it is becoming more evident that we are virtually living in a world without borders or boundaries.

Honoring the commitments and pledges made in the field of international health, Myanmar is actively involved in international and regional health movements to combat common public health problems and communicable diseases.”

Second is the highly contrasting 2007 report sponsored by the Open Society Institute (a Soros Foundations Network): The Gathering Storm: Infectious Diseases and Human Rights in Burma, which reports that Médecins San Frontières and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria were forced to pull out of the country in 2005 due to ‘extreme travel restrictions’, and that the International Committee of the Red Cross has been obliged to suspend its visits to prisons :