Our goal is to improve access to public health and primary medical care in Chin State
Health indicators in Chin State continue to be among the worst in Myanmar. The primary cause of death is from infectious diseases including pneumonia, diarrhoea and malaria – most of which are preventable and treatable. Medicines are scarce and expensive and despite there being numerous health facilities, many are empty and all are understaffed. Due to the distance between villages and towns, patients only travel to a hospital when their deteriorating health conditions are at their worst, with some arriving too late.
Maternal health project
Our maternal health project supports pregnant women in remote locations with low resources. The long-term goal of this project is to help communities from Western Myanmar develop health monitoring tools, and to improve access to adequate healthcare for members of their community with a special focus on pregnant women and babies.
Currently, we are working with local partners to introduce the use of a mobile phone app to monitor health data about community members to identify high-risk groups such as pregnant women. The goal is to implement activities such as:
- Ultrasound and dietary supplements
- Regular prenatal check-ups to improve maternal and neonatal health
- Identify high-risk pregnancies requiring assistance.
This knowledge gives women more choice and control over their pregnancy and ensures that a trained medical professional is available to deliver a baby and/or transfer high-risk pregnancies to a hospital.
This project being delivered in partnership with Columbia University until 2026.
Community Health & Emergency Response Project
Launching in January 2024, this exciting 2-year project in collaboration with our partners in Myanmar will include:
- Establishing Village Health Committees to review and prioritise community health activities.
- Training of over 300 Community Health Workers with a particular focus on maternal, newborn and child health, malaria and sexual/reproductive health.
- Establishing referral pathways to local secondary health care providers.
- Supporting & and strengthening community clinics with supplies and essential medicines.
- Conducting mobile clinics in hard-to-reach areas.
- Health education.
- Collaboration with other health providers in the area to ensure good population coverage.
Our Health projects prior to the military coup
Prior to the military coup, from 2008 to 2021, Health & Hope trained 791 Community Health Workers (CHWs), 32 Area Coordinators (ACs) and 126 Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs). In addition, 14 local Trainer of Trainers have been trained who have in turn delivered Maternal & Neonatal health training to 101 TBAs in remote villages. This network of locally trained health workers forms part of the community-led response to health challenges across the region, providing support to a population of 150,000 people across 445 partner villages.
Please click the links below to our projects:
The Community Health Financing Initiative (CHFI) aimed to equip Village Health Committees (VHCs), with the ideas, skills and investment required for developing a local source of income to fund the ongoing costs of each Community-led Healthcare project.
In order to move towards financial sustainability, each village needed to contribute an average of USD $290 towards the work of the project.
In 2019, the CHFI aimed to pilot business ideas in 15 villages where a trained Community Health Worker (CHW) and trained Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) wereworking in order to develop models of best practice for scaling up the initiative in 2020. Ideas generated by the community include raising livestock, growing elephant yam, chili powder production, expansion of weaving businesses and the setting up of a market with small shops to serve the community.
The majority of the villages in Chin State are geographically isolated with poor infrasructure and limited access to financial capital. Poor educational opportunities also feed into a cycle of deprivation and limited skills development.
Undertaking an asset model analysis revealed a surprising level of natural and social capital within the community, with incredibly strong relationships amongst villagers including high levels of trust and reciprocity between community members. This is in part thanks to an active, caring local church and the development of cohesive community groups particularly amongst the Mara community, such as farmers and women's groups. These groups provide support for community-based activities and the sharing of resources at times of need.
In 2019, we invested funds in a simple community-owned business initiative in ten villages focused on rearing livestock and the growing of elephant yam. These two activities built upon the natural and social assets in the village, with the majority of households contributing to the project's success. A small loan was provided to each village with the Village Health Committee providing oversight and management of the micro-loans to each villager. Local staff provided support, mentoring and oversight of the work, including knowledge about local markets and skills training for management of the funds.
The first 61 chickens from this project were sold at the end of 2019, providing around $206 profit. A further 1,880 chickens, in addition to Elephant Yam were roduced through the project and multiple planning meetings have been held to look at business models and costs involved in reaching local markets. The team visited some of the villages to conduct participant surveys and evaluate the project.