An online movement against the ‘militarization’ of Myanmar’s health sector gathered pace this week as thousands of people, mostly medics, posted images of themselves wearing black ribbons.
The founders of the Black Ribbon Movement Myanmar 2015, launched on Facebook on Monday by doctors at Mandalay Bone Hospital and Taungoo Hospital, say they are protesting the replacement of high-ranking health ministry officials by military staff.
The page had more than 33,000 followers as of Tuesday afternoon. A spokesman said more than 10,000 had posted pictures.
“We will not let our white coats get dark,” wrote Maung Shin Htet Naing, a medical student in Mandalay, as he posted a picture of himself in his scrubs to the campaign’s Facebook page.
Late last month, the Ministry of Health announced that 8 officials from the Ministry of Defence would take high-level jobs there. Copies of the announcement have been circulated online.
Dr Shein Thu Han, a spokesperson for the Black Ribbon campaign told Coconuts Yangon: “If a real civilian government takes power after 2015 [elections] the military will have no chance to be involved in the administration. That’s why they do this now.”
The Ministry of Health could not be reached for comment. In an interview with 7 Day Daily a representative declined to comment.