© Sébastien Duijndam

14 million

People in need of humanitarian assistance according to the United Nations (UN) since the coup d’état.


People in Myanmar are HIV-positive.

70 %

Of new HIV infections affect the most at-risk populations.

Médecins du Monde’s emergency response includes a range of humanitarian assistance programmes. Find out more below about our work and missions in Myanmar.



On 1 February 2021, the members elected democratically by the National League for Democracy (NLD) were removed from office by the Tatmadaw, the Burmese army. A state of emergency was declared, and power was given to the military regime. The results of the November 2020 election were overturned and the leaders of NLD arrested.

A movement quickly emerged, organising protest activities and campaigning for boycotts in the entire country. Healthcare workers were greatly involved in this movement of civil disobedience and were consequently severely repressed. In 2021, almost half of the acts of violence against healthcare professionals and structures happened in Myanmar.

Movement restrictions and insecurity have severely impacted humanitarian work. Simultaneously, the populations who were already vulnerable such as sex workers and people who use drugs had to adapt and become mobile to protect themselves, making it harder for humanitarian activities and more difficult for NGOs to reach these key-population. Therefore, these populations are dealing with a multidimensional crisis: political, economic, social, health and humanitarian. The United Nations estimates that around 14 million people need humanitarian assistance of which 3 million need it right now.

The country was also struck by the Covid-19 pandemic. The largest epidemic wave has hit Myanmar in July 2021 and lasted for months.

The HIV/AIDS epidemic


    Despite the current events in Myanmar, it should be remembered that the country has been going through one of the worst HIV/AIDS epidemics in all South-East Asia, and the difficulty to access antiretrovirals and treatments only increased with this crisis.


    A medical assistance plan must be implemented and aimed at two objectives: access to treatments and awareness-raising of the populations.


    HIV particularly affects people who inject drugs: on a national scale, 35% are infected with the virus.


    The Covid-19 health crisis has built on the already existing HIV crisis. The pandemic made it more complicated to access treatment or harm reduction kits for drug use.


    14.6% of sex workers (SW) and 11.6% of men having sex with men (MSM) are affected by the epidemic.


    The multi-dimensional crisis that hit Myanmar in 2021 has further weakened these key populations, who suffer daily from isolation, stigmatisation and limited access to health infrastructure.


    For example, the authorities have restricted and controlled movements which had a negative impact on SW, as their livelihood largely depend on the ability to move, either for themselves or for their clients.


    For people who use drugs, access to treatments and harm reduction material was also difficult.

Réduction des risques Myanmar

© William Daniels


In the context of its work in Myanmar, Médecins du Monde is working to promote an equitable access to health and rights for everyone. Our harm reduction programmes provide prevention services, treatment and support for key populations such as SW, men having sex with men in Yangon, and people who inject drugs in Kachin.


Médecins du Monde has been operating since 2000 in Yangon, south of Myanmar, with the SW community and men having sex with men.


It is through a network of “peer educators” that Médecins du Monde carries out HIV prevention activities. Collaborative humanitarian actions have supported thousands of people potentially at risk for infection.


In 2021, due to the Covid-19 pandemic and political turmoil, peer workers had to adapt by providing more flexible interventions and become mobile to go and meet the key populations. Thus, the prevention teams supporting men having sex with men and SW have organised outreach activities, distributed harm reduction kits and referred people towards HIV screening services.


    In 2021, we:

    • provided HIV prevention services for 2,620 TDS and men having sex with men,
    • tested 2,600 SW and men having sex with men for HIV,
    • gave out more than 104,550 condoms for the most at-risk populations in Yangon.
Myanmar Réduction des risques

© Wiliam Daniels


In the state of Kachin, Médecins du Monde works with people who use drugs, particularly affected by infectious diseases. On some sites, more than half of the people who inject drugs are HIV-positive, and 70% of them also have hepatitis C.


Because of the coup d’état and the Covid-19 pandemic, Médecins du Monde had to adjust their medical and prevention activities to ensure the safety of its teams, of the peer workers but also of the people using the services. The organisation works in 90 sites divided in three Townships, as well as outreach activities, supported by a network of 116 peer workers.


In 2021, this mobile and community-based model made it possible for 7,500 people who inject drugs to still have access to prevention and harm reduction services. This is how Médecins du Monde’s teams had the main goal of ensuring the continuity of essential medical services for the key populations, by maintaining screenings, HIV treatment and advice, vaccination against hepatitis B, screening of hepatitis C and even providing access to methadone substitution treatment. Prevention and harm reduction kits were also given out such as condoms, sterile syringe, water, alcohol swabs.


In the second semester of 2021, Médecins du Monde started developing a pilot project in Kachin on amphetamine-type stimulants, the second most used drug after cannabis. The goal is to reinforce the ability of people who use stimulants to create and promote access to harm reduction services adapted to their needs. In July 2021, the organisation led an exploratory mission in Kachin to meet the people who use drugs and analyse their needs, but also to discuss potential future partnerships with local organisations and work together to draft a roadmap. It is essential to build this project together with the people who use stimulants as well as the local organisations to ensure a lasting appropriation of activities and adapted services.


    In 2021, we:

    • provided HIV prevention services to 7,560 people who use drugs,
    • tested 1,180 people who use drugs for HIV,
    • supported 3,124 HIV-positive people by maintaining access to antiretroviral treatment,
    • offered treatment for hepatitis C virus to 1,400 people,
    • gave out more than 5 million needles and syringes to lower the risks of drug consumption,
    • took part in an international conference on “take-home opioid substitution therapy in the context of Covid-19” within the frame of the 64th session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.
  • 10,200

    beneficiaries in 2021.

  • 2,035,300

    Budget in 2021.


beneficiaries in 2021.


Budget in 2021.

  • 1994
    First programme for HIV in the state of Kachin. Prevention activities for people who inject drugs.
  • 2000
    Opening of a programme in Rangoon for SW
  • 2002
    Opening of the first healthcare centre. Antiretroviral treatments (ARV) are provided.
  • 2006
    Médecins du Monde is authorised to deliver methadone.
  • 2008
    Cyclone Nargis: emergency intervention in the Pyapon delta. Care provided to women and children is improved.
  • 2013
    Intervention for people displaced because of the Kachin conflict.