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Latest update on the Health & Hope Training Centre

Posted on 28th January 2020 by Philippa Wilford

Latest update on the Health & Hope Training Centre

Building a two story 100'x60' Training Centre in one of the most geographically remote places of Myanmar comes with its fair share of challenges.

I was reminded of that during my latest visit, with it taking us four days just to travel to the project site in the remote mountains of Chin State. When you're also having to transport building materials, it can be a bit frustrating if you forget that essential item of equipment and it's a 12 hour journey (or longer) just to get to the nearest DIY store.

We started constructing the Training Centre in January 2018. When we set out, we determined that everything would be done through the hands of the local townspeople. Where they had experience, we would build upon it.  Where they didn't have the skills we would provide training. 

I kept reminding myself of that as I looked around the project, a year after I'd visited previously. Unlike another building in the area that used contractors from the city, the Training Centre stands as a testimony to what can be achieved through the efforts of local craftsmen, some of whom have learnt a trade through the building process, and are equipped to use that in the future.

Despite being incomplete, the Training Centre has already seen a year's worth of use. The first rooms hosted training for local villagers before the building even had a roof, as we launched a new phase of health training for Community Health Workers in December 2018. In June 2019, just as the roof was being fitted and the monsoon rains begain, 96 students moved into the building as part of the new Education for All project where they will be studying until March. In December last year we ran further training on maternal and neonatal care for Area Health Coordinators and will be running additional workshops in March 2020.

Whilst we raise funding for a separate dormitory, the first floor of the training hall has been turned into an accommodation block for the students and the second floor is in the final stages of being converted into office space and accommodation for local staff.

What I like about the building is that it isn't perfect. The ceiling tiles don't quite line up with the walls. The concrete render isn't quite as smooth as you would want it to be.There were even a few patches of mould that needed cleaning off where the monsoon rains had wet the concrete prior to the external render being finished. The reason I like this, is because every imperfection in the building, which will last for generations, spoke volumes about the hands that had created it and the lessons that had been learnt in the process.

Lessons about how to make concrete, how to tie reinforcement bars, what grade of steel to use, how to cut roofing bars, how to plumb in drainage, how to put up a hanging ceiling, how to make a staircase. Alongside the practical lessons were thousands of hours spent in relationship with local villagers working hand-in-hand on a project that they initially said was impossible to build!  


Do check out this short video of the Education for All project which is a fantastic example of how the Training Centre is being put to use.

We are so grateful to everyone who has supported the Training Centre rebuilding project.

If you would like to find out more about this and our other infrastructure projects click here, or feel free to get in touch for more information by emailing:

Volunteer trip report: Transforming maternal & child health in Chin State

Posted on 15th January 2020 by Philippa Wilford

At the beginning of November, two volunter midwives made the four-day journey from the UK to Laillenpi in Chin state, Myanmar. This was the 8th visit to the township, where training and practical support has been provided to Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) and other healthcare workers, with the aim of improving maternal and child health outcomes in the rural communities. 

Since the start of this project over 180 TBAs have been trained. In 2017, the project was expanded to provide Training of Trainers (ToTs) to local women, who then provide training to TBAs in more remote villages. Another element of this trip, was the opportunity to provide support to three nurses who have recently graduated through the support of Health & Hope's Freedom to Education Project (FEP), as well as provide training and support to local government midwives. 

Due to ongoing conflict in the region, it wasn't possible for the volunteers to travel to some of the more remote villages as planned. Instead, two days of clinics were arranged in the town, where almost 150 mothers & babies were seen and treated! 

Following this, the UK midwives conducted a week-long workshop with 36 TBAs, 5 government midwives and 2 trained nutritionalists, who were keen to receive training so that they can deliver health advice for pregnant women and new mothers. As part of the project, the team distributed birth bags, which contain essential equipment and clean birth kits, as well as distribution of basic medicines alongside training in their correct administration.

As always, it was wonderful to receive feedback from the TBAs who have been able to put the training they've had over the years into practice. One TBA revealed how she had delivered a breeched baby 12 years ago and the baby had died because she did not know what to do. Since coming to the training, she has been able to get over her fears and recently deliver a breech baby successfully. She said: "I knew what to do because of the training I had received, and the mother and baby are well. It was the best day of my life!"

The result of this continued work has been a clear improvement in conditions, skills and expertise provided by the TBAs. The assessment at the end of the training week showed that the TBAs have grasped a good understanding in critical practices such as handwashing & hygiene, initial assessment of the mother, manoeuvres of breeched births, and immediate post-natal care of the newborn, including skin-to-skin contact and first breastfeed. As well as these basic concepts, the TBAs also now have a good understanding of how to deal with complications and emergencies in delivery such as  bleeding. 

This visit also created an opportunity for the three graduate nurses to gain further training and experience in maternal and neonatal health. The nurses, who are now part of the Health & Hope Myanmar team in Lailenpi, were translating during the clinics and training sessions, giving them the chance to deepen their knowledge and grow in confidence. As a result, Hope Clinic, based in Lailenpi, and our other health projects, will now benefit from the enhanced skills and experience of these trained staff. 

Click here to find out more about the Maternal and Neonatal Health project and how you can support this work. 

Changing lives through education

Posted on 9th January 2020 by Philippa Wilford

Watch the video below which showcases Health & Hope's new Education for All project in Chin State, western Myanmar. 

Launched in June 2019, the Education for All project aimed at tackling the Year 10 pass rate among ‘repeater students’, those who have attempted to take the exam and failed. The project provides 100 of these students with 10 months of full-time education to enable them to complete this qualification.

You can find out more about this project here

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