The Gathering Storm: Infectious Diseases and Human Rights in Myanmar

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Eric Stover, Voravit Suwanvanichkij, Andrew Moss, David Tuller, Tom Lee, Emily Whichard, Rachel Shigekane, Chris Beyrer, David Scott Mathieson
Publication Date
July 1, 2007
Publication Type
Climate, International Humanitarian Law, Public Health


We launched a research project in July 2006 to understand the factors that have contributed to Myanmar’s dire health situation and to the spread of infectious diseases in Myanmar and across its borders. We also wanted to see if it was possible to deliver international aid to combat infectious diseases in Myanmar in a manner that would be transparent and accountable, reach those most in need, and promote respect for human rights and international humanitarian law. We began our research by dispatching teams of researchers to Rangoon and the border regions of China, Thailand, Bangladesh, and India. During these missions, researchers gathered data about infectious diseases—primarily HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, and lymphatic filariasis—from health clinics operated by local governments and nongovernmental organizations. The teams also interviewed health professionals, government officials, and representatives of nongovernmental and community-based organizations that operate preventative programs and provide therapeutic care to patients. After the initial trip, researchers made repeat visits to Myanmar and the border regions of Thailand and India to collect further information. In addition, one of our researchers interviewed staff members of the Global Fund in Geneva and representatives of the European Union in Bangkok charged with drafting the strategic plan for the 3D Fund.