Myanmar's healthcare system has been one of the worst-hit sectors in the aftermath of the military takeover, which saw the armed forces seize control of the country, triggering massive protests and causing the death of more than 700 of its people.
As a result, Myanmar's frontline health personnel are now finding themselves in a precarious situation, facing the dilemma of caring for sick people and obeying military orders that have placed the country under a brutal crackdown, The BBC reported Tuesday.
Myanmar's military officials detained State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint on Feb. 1 in the country's first coup since 1988, ending a decade of democratic governance.
The Suu Kyi-led National League for Democracy (NLD) had won a landslide in a general election in November, but coup leaders have claimed the election was marred by fraud.
Since then, thousands of physicians have joined Myanmar's civil disobedience campaign which has seen public workers and other government officials refusing to work under the new military rule.
"For as long as the military junta stays in power I won't return to work," Kyi (not his real name), a doctor in Mandalay who's been on strike for almost three months, said. "I do not want to recognize their authority in any way."
The Southeast Asian country's public healthcare system accounts for about 80% of all medical facilities, hospitals and clinics and provides huge amount of subsidy for the country's 54 million people.
Last week, leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations pressed Myanmar's junta leader to immediately end the killings in the country and called on the military to release all political prisoners.
"It's a grim situation... the public health system is near collapse," Dr. Mitchell Sangma, who is on the frontlines for humanitarian group Medicins San Frontiers (MSF) in Myanmar's main city Yangon, said.
The coup's effects are also being felt when it comes to other infectious diseases. Doctors say the country's slow but steady progress over the past 20 years on deadly illnesses like HIV and tuberculosis is already being reversed.
"It's terrifying. It's really tragic to see all the advancements that Myanmar has made on the public health front disappear so quickly like this," BBC quoted Pavlo Kolovos, former Myanmar Head of Mission for MSF, as saying.