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.
Since 2008, HHM have trained 834 Community Health Workers (CHWs) and 166 Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) to develop a community-led response to health challenges across the region. This network of volunteer health workers is spread over 551 partner villages.
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Since 2008, Health & Hope Myanmar have trained 834 Community Health Workers and over 150 Traditional Birth Attendants to develop a community-led response to health challenges across the region. The network of volunteer health workers are spread over 551 partner villages. Following on from a pilot project in 2016 in Rakhine and southern Chin States to provide in-situ support to these health workers, this project builds upon experience in order to:
- increase access to health care services through ensuring the network of trained health workers are regularly supported, and receive follow-up training to respond to the changing needs of their local community
- build capacity of the network of health workers through health education of local communities enabling them to respond better to their own health needs
Southern Chin State and northern Rakhine State are two of the most neglected and impoverished regions in Myanmar. The project area is remote and poorly connected to the rest of the country. Villagers from the project area consist of over fifteen different tribal groups, all facing chronic food insecurity, a lack of educational opportunities and poor health outcomes.
This project aims to address:
- the lack of access and availability to health care services for the rural poor
- the lack of education about health management, sanitation, nutrition, disease prevalence and disease prevention
- the lack of a sustainable solution for providing health care services for the rural poor
- weaknesses in local drivers for change through engaging communities in self-determined improvements, and influencing government provision of healthcare to rural areas
At the launch of the 2015 UN Primary Health Care Performance Initiative, WHO Director General Dr. Margaret Chan stated that, “when primary health care works, it can meet the vast majority of people’s health needs”. It has been the long-term belief and experience of Health & Hope that community-owned and led services are the most effective way of improving the health of the rural population in western Myanmar. These services are primarily preventative rather than curative, adopting scientifically sound and culturally appropriate methods of health education.
Health & Hope's community-based model provides regular training for Area Coordinators, who in turn support Community Health Workers in partner villages by giving:
- mentoring support
- peer learning opportunities
- one-to-one health training
- access to medicines
- health education campaign material
- monitoring of health statistics
Funding for this project also means trained medical staff can receive in-situ training alongside running rural health clinics, in addition to supporting the development of Health & Hope Myanmar's operational capabilities.
In December 2019, a team of volunteers from Birthlink-UK visited Lailenpi to conduct workshops and training on essential newborn care. The BirthLink team ran a five-day workshop with the three nurses, four intern nurses, two doctors and two additional health team members. Following training for the health team there was an Area Coordinator (AC) workshop held in the clinic, which was conducted by the newly trained members of staff.
During the AC workshop there was an opportunity to share experiences and describe the situations ACs face day to day in the villages that they are working in. This reinforced some of the challenging situations that the Area Coordinators are facing and the importance of thier work, as outlined by one of the Area Coordinators:
"Firstly I want to say I am very grateful for the help of Health & Hope. Without them and this opportunity my village and others close by would have no access to health care. One situation that stands out for me was whilst walking in the forest looking for elephant yam. I heard a lot of crying in a nearby village. I went to see what was happening. As I arrived I found a mother delivering her baby. There had been a lot of blood loss and the mother was very sick. The father, children and the villagers were all crying. They were just waiting for the mother and child to die as they couldn’t do anything to help. I quickly assessed the situation and was able to help assist and safely deliver the baby and save the mother even though I had no equipment."
The health team are now travelling to 36 remote villages to conduct community clinics over the coming weeks. A further Area Coordinator workshop is being planned for March.