Detained Burmese comedian Zarganar allowed treatment

by Phanida
Tuesday, 28 April 2009 21:34

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – With the health of famous comedian and film director Thura a.k.a. Zarganar, serving 35 years in prison, deteriorating, he was finally allowed a medical check-up on Monday.

Zarganar (48), suffering from a heart disease, was taken to Myitkyina People’s Hospital in Northern Burma’s Kachin state and allowed a check up by a cardiologist.

“He was taken outside yesterday but they did not inform his family. He was not in the prison when we went to see him yesterday. We went to the hospital and waited for him from 2:15 p.m. The medical Check-up was completed at about 4 p.m. and he was taken back to prison,” his sister-in-law Ma Nyein who visited him at Myitkyina prison told Mizzima.

“There is a prison ward at the hospital but Thura was not admitted. His liver function has improved and is ok now. A senior doctor at the hospital said that he might need oxygen,” she added.

Zarganar underwent ultrasound, X-Ray and ECG checks on Monday and doctors said his heart was swelling.

“After the medical Check-up, Thura told me that both Ultrasound and X-Ray results were good. But he underwent 2 ECG tests and the result said his heart was swelling. The doctor, who was not satisfied with the ECG result, said the heart is getting bigger when Zarganar asked him about the medical reports. He was disappointed with his heart condition,” Ma Nyein said. Before the medical Check-up, he was suffering from hepatitis and liver inflammation. Now he is suffering from heart disease, hypertension and spondylitis.

A doctor in Rangoon who wished not to be named said that the cause of this heart swelling could be varied and he might need to have immediate medical attention.

“There are many types of heart swelling. If the heart doesn’t work properly, the heart will get bigger and the body will suffer from oedema in the legs, hands, abdomen and face. It means the heart is not working properly and the patient may suffer from congestive cardiac failure.

When these symptoms are found, the patient needs to be admitted to hospital immediately. The patient must be prescribed anti-biotic drugs for diueresis and get drained. The patient needs oxygen if cyanosis is found,” the doctor in Rangoon said.

Zarganar was escorted to hospital by eight policemen, Township and Ward level Peace and Development Council (PDC) members, personnel of the Police Special Branch and prison staffs in two cars.

“The jailor sat on the front seat of the jeep. Two policemen sat beside Ko Thura and another police car carried officials of the local PDC. They were fully armed and didn’t seem to like bringing a patient to the hospital. I wept when I saw this. Many people came and watched Zarganar after they heard that he was going to be admitted to the hospital. So he was taken through the back door,” Ma Nyein said.

She further said that she could see Zarganar was confined in a 3’x3′ cell inside the Myitkyina prison where he is serving time.

He was prescribed one more medicine besides the earlier one, but it is not known what drug it was.

“I saw prison officials today and asked about his condition. They said that we could buy medicines ourselves if we could afford it. But they said that they would buy all these medicines themselves. I don’t know which medicines they prescribed to him this time. They didn’t say anything about the prescription of hypertension and heart drugs,” Ma Nyein said.

Zarganar collapsed at about 8 p.m. on April 16 and regained consciousness at about 11 p.m. the same day.

His family sought permission from the Home Ministry through prison officials for a medical Check-up for hepatitis in a hospital outside.

Zarganar was arrested for voluntary charity service provided to Cyclone Nargis victims on 25 September 2008. He was sentenced to 59 years in prison, which was later commuted to 35 years.

It is learnt that the roundtrip to Myitkyina prison from Rangoon to see him at prison interviews costs his family at least Kyat 700,000. The family has already spent about Kyat 1.4 million this month alone.

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