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HHUK Press Statement

Posted on 8th September 2020 by Philippa Wilford

HHUK Press Statement

Dr Sasa's potential role in Myanmar’s forthcoming elections

For Immediate Release
8th September 2020

Dr Sasa, the founder of Health & Hope’s work in Myanmar, has been nominated by the Central Executive Committee of the National League for Democracy (NLD) to represent their campaign in Chin State, ahead of forthcoming elections.

Today, Dr Sasa released a public statement on his possible candidacy, stating that discussions with the NLD leadership are still ongoing and no decision has been formally made.

Dr Sasa has committed his life and his work to the people of Chin State. In his statement he draws attention to the many challenges facing the Chin people, including the need for national unity and reconciliation and the importance of prioritising the most vulnerable.

The vision that Dr Sasa has held for his people and his nation has inspired many people over the years and his priorities and values have not changed as he influences and leads change in Chin State and beyond. 

Discussions with the NLD are ongoing. If Dr Sasa were to formally accept any role in the election process, he would sever his links with Health & Hope Myanmar. Dr Sakie, the Deputy-CEO would then step up into leadership, supported by a fully equipped team, of medical staff educational professionals and food security specialists.  Field operations will continue unhindered, ensuring continuity of Health & Hope’s work to vulnerable rural communities.

Dr Sasa's message is available to read on Facebook here. The full statement from Dr Sasa is also copied below. 

Statement by Dr Sasa on the inclusion of his name in the NLD’s list for the Chin State Election Campaign Committee

For Immediate Release
8th September 2020

As many of my countrymen and women will know, I have spent my life tirelessly working for the welfare and development of the people of Chin State and beyond. 

As a young boy, I grew up in one of the most remote regions of Myanmar, constantly facing the suffering, hardship, and the pain. In my village, there were no roads, electricity or running water and we struggled to survive. Many of my best friends died young whilst I was still at school and women in my village died needlessly in childbirth. From a young age, I was determined to help them, and after graduating as a doctor, I have given my life to serving the people of my country, no matter what tribe or tongue. 

I have always believed, that nobody should be left behind suffering and in pain, and over the last decade and more of work, we have purposefully focused our efforts on reaching the most vulnerable, bringing hope to the hopeless, through transforming countless lives across the spheres of health, education, community development and food security. Through simple acts of kindness and compassion, through hard work and perseverance, we have helped to transform the lives of countless villagers and contributed to peace, security, and the development of our nation.

On 8th November 2020, the people of Myanmar will choose a government to represent them. The successful party will have a full agenda and high expectations, to address the many challenges that we face today, whilst also bringing transformational change to people’s livelihoods. The government will need to bring unity and reconciliation where there is division, transparency, and accountability where there is corruption, and promote investment and opportunity, prioritising those who are the most vulnerable. 

The NLD has asked me to consider a role as a member of Campaign Committee in Chin State. I am deeply humbled and honoured to have been listed by the NLD . There are clearly many needs facing our people, and I strongly believe that by working together, with integrity, honouring one another above ourselves, Chin State can flourish and become a blessing for the whole nation. 

Alongside my work as a humanitarian and doctor, I have been holding several discussions with the NLD to gain a better sense of their vision for Chin State and how this aligns with the needs of the Chin people. Due to Covid 19 restrictions, we have been unable to meet in person and as such, our discussions have not yet concluded. 

If I were to stand with any political party on behalf of the Chin, I would do this as an ambassador of the Chin people, speaking out for the needs of the Chin and urging us to work together for the development and prosperity of the communities in which we live. I would seek out ways to resolve security concerns and work for peace and reconciliation in Chin State and nationwide. 

I believe Chin State can be a driver of economic investment and development, utilising our people’s trustworthiness, determination, and skills, alongside Chin State's abundant natural resources to bring opportunity and development to all. 

If I were to take office, I would want to see significant, measurable changes across the State in equitable access to opportunities and resources, particularly in health, education, development and food security, just as we have started to see in the rural areas that we have been serving over the last decade. 

Whilst discussions continue, I pray that whoever takes on the role of leadership for Chin State, will be dedicated to delivering good governance, security, justice, and socio-economic opportunity to all. This is the future that the people of Chin State deserve.

In the meantime, I remain totally committed to continuing my efforts to serve the people of Chin State and Myanmar, whom I have always served with my whole heart.

Dr Sasa.

Achieving more through partnership

Posted on 21st July 2020 by Philippa Wilford

At Health & Hope we believe in the power of great partnerships.

We have a big vision, and we recognise that we can’t achieve it on our own. That is why we seek to build close relationships with partners who can help us achieve our mission.

One organisation we have partnered with since 2016 is International Health Partners (IHP). Based on a simple idea, its model involves matching medicine and health supplies to need. It is a global health charity that coordinates the safe and responsible donation of medicines and health supplies to people who lack access.

Through our partnership, IHP has provided a broad range of medicines and supplies such as antibiotics and multivitamins as part of our Community-led Health Programme and Hope Clinic, based in Lailenpi. In the last year, our partnership with IHP has enabled the provision of 53,000 treatments in the communities where we work.

"Health & Hope’s work in Chin state to train community health workers allows communities to access healthcare care across a large rural area – otherwise people would have to travel days to reach a healthcare facility,” says IHP’s programmes manager, Hannah Dean.

She adds: “We support Health & Hope with medicines and supplies, enabling community health workers to use kits that provide a range of primary healthcare treatments for different medical needs. We are delighted to support Health & Hope with a programme that is having such a huge impact across the region. The community health worker model should be encouraged across the sector as an effective way to deliver healthcare in remote areas."

Access to medication is a vital component in providing healthcare in a rural setting. These resources are highly sought after by the Community Health Workers (CHWs) whom we have trained throughout the region. Many patients with minor illnesses and injuries seen by the CHWs can be easily treated when these basic medications are available.

Through our Community-led Healthcare programme, we run a series of workshops each year, providing specialist training to Area Co-ordinators. The Co-ordinators disseminate this knowledge to the Community Health Workers who they oversee in their areas. The Area Co-ordinators are given bespoke training on safe use of medicines; contraindications; and guidance on how to log and track prescriptions.

In a recent random sampling of 54 villagers in nine villages, it was seen that the medicines distributed through the Health & Hope / IHP partnership were generally the only means of provision for villagers in the region. 

In addition to our mobile community programme, IHP medicines have supplied Hope Clinic, based in Lailenpi, which treats close to 2,000 patients each year.

CHW receiving medicines CHW treating patient Area Co-ordinators Practical training workshops Hope Clinic, Lailenpi Treating patients at the Clinic

The joy of receiving supplies

This is Revai, one of the Health & Hope trained CHW’s, receiving his pharmaceutical supplies. These are transported in rice sacks by motorbike, and then kept in secure boxes along with medication guidelines. There was incredible joy and a deep sense of gratitude on receipt of the supplies.

Revai was trained by Health & Hope in 2009-2010 and has served his village and community ever since. Common illnesses he has treated include typhoid, fever of unknown origin, diarrhoea, headaches and abdominal pain. Women with deep lacerations to limbs following injuries collecting firewood and motorbike accidents are also prevalent. Revai serves a small village of 30 households and spoke of how difficult it was to manage sick and injured patients without medications. Diagnosis is only part of the story for patients, and without appropriate medicine some do not get better.

Where medications are not available, he will write down what is needed and leave it up to the individual or their family to source them. Even if they have enough money, medication can be difficult to find. There are also a large number of counterfeit products sold at local markets, and so any medicine bought this way comes at a risk.

Where medication is available in local shops and pharmacies, there is a higher cost involved. Families in Chin State place a very high importance on their health and are even willing to go into debt to purchase medicine. This is a growing problem for households not just in Chin State, but across the whole of Myanmar.

Being able to provide medications, thanks to our partnership with IHP, not only works to avoid significant family debt, but also ensures timely treatment. This dramatically improves outcomes for patients, and reduces the risk of secondary conditions.

We value working with an organisation that has vital networks and expertise, and one that shares our values and mission.

Our partnership with IHP has enabled us to achieve so much more than we could manage on our own. 

How Health & Hope are responding to a pandemic

Posted on 17th July 2020 by Philippa Wilford

The Coronavirus pandemic has brought a host of new challenges to the rural poor in Myanmar (Burma) with the lockdown jeopardising the local economy, healthcare, education and food systems.  

Health & Hope is addressing the crisis through our COVID-19 Response project. Alongside this, our ongoing community services remain as vital as ever.

We launched our response on 21st April 2020. Five medical teams undertook an enormous logistical challenge, delivering resources and health education to 135 remote villages in Chin State, in addition to reaching 4 makeshift camps for Internally Displaced People (IDP) in Samee.

Hospitals and rural clinics in Chin State also had diminishing access to resources as the country went into lockdown and we were pleased to provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and vital medical supplies to 13 hospitals and rural clinics.  

In addition, our health team produced educational leaflets, posters and videos in local languages to stem a tide of confusion in villages across the region.

What was achieved in numbers:

Preparing village resource packs
Loading motorbikes Jungle roads in Chin State Reaching remote villages Arriving in villages Health education campaigns COVID-19 prevention training Delivering health education Training government health workers Providing equipment to local clinics Reaching remote villages Reaching remote villages Supporting local hospitals Demonstrating use of full PPE The journey home

Access into villages across Chin State varies due to location and proximity to roads and larger towns. The majority of villages targeted can only be access by motorbike or foot on jungle paths.  Furthermore, the beginning of the monsoon season also brought significant challenges.

The quality of local education and access to information was evident as the team arrived in each village. In some areas the team were welcomed with open arms, in others there were check gates set up on the village perimeter.  The villages closer to the larger towns already had a good understanding of COVID-19, although there were many rumours and myths about the virus. In the more isolated villages, communities had very limited understanding or no prior knowledge about the pandemic.

Villagers in Chin State had generally reacted to the lockdown in one of two ways. For those who had access to news or social media, there was a certain amount of fear due to the pandemic’s global scale. By contrast, the second response was one of apathy. Many people could not see how they could contribute to preventing an outbreak in their community. 

At the same time, very real issues of the lockdown had began to have an impact on livelihoods.

Whilst the lockdown was vital for curtailing the spread of the virus, these measures have had significant consequences for communities whose resources are already precarious. Villagers are struggling with increased prices for commodities, alongside the closure of markets to sell their goods.

Travel restrictions also mean that some communities no longer have access to government healthcare, and so other health issues, unrelated to the pandemic, are going untreated. A recent survey of 60 villagers in 10 villages reported that Health & Hope-trained Community Health Workers continued to be the main or only healthcare provider in their village, highlighting that our work remains just as vital during these times. 

Even if there is no significant spread of COVID-19 into rural areas, people will continue to face enormous challenges as they struggle to meet their daily needs, especially now that the monsoon season approaches, and the next rice harvest is not until the autumn.

Training of COVID-19 committees Educating communities & providing equipment

Concern for those in conflict areas

The concerns are even more grave in southern Chin State where conflict continues.  Health & Hope teams travelling in these areas faced additional challenges due to curfews.  

There are currently over 11,000 Internally Displaced People (IDPs) registered across Chin State. However, actual estimates for the last 12 months are as high as 30,000 with people suspected of hiding in the jungle, or having moved to live with relatives in other villages.

People in IDP camps have inadequate sanitation and access to clean water, which poses a serious risk to health. In the camps, each family is responsible for cooking their own food, with few facilities or resources for doing so. Our teams could see little formal NGO activity taking place, with rice and vegetables being delivered just twice a week.

Planning for the year ahead

Health & Hope’s Training Centre in Lailenpi has been prepared in case of an influx of cases in the community.  Preparatory work by our partner EMI (Engineering Ministries International) has been undertaken to identify the best method for managing patients should a short-term hospital ward be required. However, signs are positive that there are currently no known cases of COVID-19 in southern Chin State. 

Design for COVID-19 support unit The Health & Hope Training Centre

Seasonal challenges

The monsoon season significantly hampers our ability to stay in touch with more remote communities. In many cases, entire areas become impassible.  One positive outcome is that the isolation is likely to limit the potential spread of the virus. However, it also means that monitoring and support becomes more difficult. 

The local team will be undertaking a futher needs assessment in 30% of the villages visited under this project in July, to provide ongoing monitoring and support to the communities.


“When the village leaders announced that a team from Health & Hope would be coming I was really happy. They have provided so much to our village over the years and trained our Community Health Worker.  Thank you so much for giving us the proper knowledge and information about this disease and equipment to protect us. God bless you and your colleagues.” 

- Mr Hraile, Farmer


If you have any questions about our COVID-19 response or how you can support our work, please contact our Partnerships Manager, Philippa Wilford

Thank you for your support which is helping us to provide life-saving assistance to people in some of the most remote communities in the world.

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