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Myanmar’s military coup: Spotlight on a year of resistance :: THET Guest Blog

A member blog post by

Summer Simpson


1st February 2022 marks one year since the military coup in Myanmar. Lives first turned upside down by COVID-19, are now characterised by fear from violent attacks by the military.

Over the last twelve months, military and police forces have indiscriminately attacked crowds of peaceful demonstrators with tear gas, rubber bullets and military grade weapons. The casualty rate is escalating each day, testing the stamina of our colleagues and friends from all perspectives.

Facing intimidation, attack and arrest, health workers are risking and losing their lives as they attempt to provide vital care. In turn, Myanmar has become one of the deadliest places on earth to be a health worker1, contributing to the rapid and complex deterioration of the country’s health system.

Against this backdrop of unrest and brutality, we have also witnessed remarkable acts of solidarity across the Health Partnership community.

With this unbreakable unity that we hold, I am convinced that we will survive this battle and come out even stronger than ever before.” – Dr Thinn Thinn Hlaing, Myanmar Country Director, THET

Convened by the Tropical Health and Education Trust (THET), representatives from over 30 institutions have met bimonthly since the coup. Key achievements include:

  • Raising awareness of the unfolding crisis by partnering with print and broadcast media including the BBC, Channel 4 and The Guardian.
  • Providing online guidance and resources that have been accessed over 15,000 times by more than 6,000 doctors and nurses in Myanmar.
  • Lobbying for over £100,000 from the FCDO in Myanmar to support Health Partnerships responding to the coup.

With the anniversary of the coup almost upon us, a further series of actions is being organised to honour the lives of those we have lost, while calling for immediate action for the people of Myanmar: the Myanmar diaspora community in the UK will be hosting a demonstration in Parliament Square; and the APPG for Global Health is hosting a meeting to share insights from Burmese and UK health workers.

Further to this, Royal Colleges across the UK will light up their buildings in red in a moment of solidarity and remembrance for health workers who have risked, and lost, their lives to provide care over the past year. The gesture marked by the Royal College of General Practitioners, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, Royal College of Physicians, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, is a tribute to the thousands of individuals working tirelessly to provide care.

Professor Michael Griffin OBE, President of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, said:

As a College, we feel it is important to show solidarity with healthcare workers in Myanmar, many of whom are members and fellows of RCSEd, and are continuing to provide care to those in need in the most challenging of circumstances. We wish to show our support to these individuals by taking part in this initiative.”

To accompany these activities, an online campaign driven through social media will take place from 1st to 7th February. To show your support you can:

  • Temporarily changing your social media profile picture so that it contains a red background.
  • Sharing your message of solidarity with the hashtag #MyanmarsHealthMatters, such as: Today, and every day, I stand in #solidarity with #Myanmar’s #HealthWorkers who courageously deliver healthcare while fighting for their rights. #MyanmarsHealthMatters [click here to Tweet this]

The healthcare community in the UK has remained resolute in its commitment to our colleagues in Myanmar and we hope that you will stand in solidarity with us at this crucial time.

World Health Organization (2022) Surveillance System for Attacks on Healthcare. Available:

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