Secretly crossing the Thailand-Myanmar border, sneaking past military checkpoints and landmines, is not something most people would call a vacation. But Dr. Pierre-Louise Olland and Serge Israel make the trip whenever they have time off work.

The two Frenchmen travel into Myanmar’s Shan State illegally, into territory controlled by a faction of the insurgent Shan State Army (SSA), one of the many ethnic rebel groups that has been fighting Myanmar’s government for autonomy. It is a dangerous endeavor given that it is a restricted zone where foreigners, especially journalists and aid workers, are not welcome.

In eastern Myanmar, one in 10 children dies before the age of one, and more than one in five die before their fifth birthday, according to the Burma Children Medical Fund. Myanmar has been rated by the UN as the most corrupt country in the world


Olland and Israel’s aid reaches only the fringes of Myanmar — and of the problem itself. Myanmar’s failure to provide its people with health care is a systemic issue, stemming from the government’s prioritization of the military over social services. The best Israel and Olland can do is to treat the symptoms, not the disease itself.

Read the full article by Olivia Katrandjian at Huffington Post