Sep 25, 2020

Training Centre complete: We did it together!

H&H training centre
H&H training centre
Over the last two years the community in Lailenpi has been working hard to re-build all that was destroyed by Cyclone Mora in 2017. The completion of the Health & Hope Training Centre has been a mammoth effort, funded by your incredible generosity, and achieved through the incredible hard work of the local community.

With the final funding for the project now raised, we have been able to finish the final elements of the building including plumbing and electrics, as well as fitting toilets and showers. 

The Health & Hope Training Centre is essential to our work. The centre playing a critical role in the delivery of Health & Hope’s activities in Myanmar. Even before it’s completion, over the last 18 months, the building has housed four Area Co-ordinator training workshops, four Traditional Birth Attendant trainings, agricultural training, community events and offices for the local Health & Hope staff. The building is also currently acting as a temporary base for Hope Clinic, as the clinic building is in desperate need of repair. 

Last year, the training centre also supported 96 students through the first year of the Education for All project. The results of the Year 10 exams have recently been released and show that the pass rate of students from the project was three times higher than that achieved by the government school in Lailenpi and it matched those of the schools in Yangon, an urban city with much better school provision.

Thanks to your investment in the Health & Hope training centre, 27 young people now have the opportunity to continue their education and secure employment. You can read more about these results and the students that have been supported on our website here. 

Over the last six months, the training centre was used to provide accommodation for these students. However, this reduces the centre’s capacity with the loss of the main training hall. In February 2020, thanks to progress made on the Training Centre, complementary building work on an accommodation hall started, funded by the Guernsey Overseas Aid & Development Commission. The accommodation hall completes the rebuilding work from Cyclone Mora, providing facilities for up to 160 students.

We are so grateful for your partnership with us in rebuilding the Health & Hope Training Centre. Through this project, you have not only enabled us to build an impressive building that will stand the test of time, but your generosity and support for this project will provide vital training and support to a generation of people within the vulnerable communities that we serve.

Now the building is complete, we will no longer be raising funds for this project. However, we look forward to journeying with you on one of our other projects in the future. If you would like to keep up to date with the latest news from Health & Hope, you can sign up to receive our newsletter updates here. 

Thank you again for your generous support of our work. 
EfA students in a training centre classroom
EfA students in a training centre classroom
The new accommodation block
The new accommodation block
The electronic library in use
The electronic library in use
The training centre at sunset
The training centre at sunset
Area Co-Ordinator training workshop
Area Co-Ordinator training workshop
Sep 25, 2020

Continuing our training and support despite lockdown

Reviewing local women's practice in the villages
Reviewing local women's practice in the villages

In our last update, we reported on the visit in March by two UK midwives, Frances & Maaike. Alongside running training workshops in Maternal and Neonatal care for Community Health Workers (CHWs), part of the trip involved assessing the effectiveness of the local ToTs (Trainer of Trainers). Feedback was conducted with twelve women trained from the rural villages. This was followed up by visits to the local communities to assess the quality of their training. 

The ToTs had each visited two remote villages in the last six months and had received overwhelmingly positive responses. Each village was provided with a Birthing Bag for the TBAs to use, alongside a set of Clean Delivery Kits. As a result of these outreach visits, 47 TBAs were trained who could not attend the course at the Health & Hope training centre. In addition, 113 village women joined the training. This provided an excellent opportunity for health education and promotion on essential topics including hand washing, nutrition, normal and abnormal situations in pregnancy and breastfeeding. 

The village visits gave Frances and Maaike an opportunity to see the ToTs in action:

"On arrival Mimi, the ToT, introduced us to the 10 TBAs that she has been training over the past year. They are all currently active and have been delivering babies either with Mimi or the local ambulant midwife. The trained TBAs are a great resource to the local community, as prior to Mimi’s training there were no trained TBAs and Mimi mainly had to work alone. She could not always be there when a woman went into labour, which brought additional risks." 

The TBAs were so enthusiastic about Mimi’s support: "Yes! She is a good teacher. We are so thankful because now we have confidence to manage normal pregnancy and birth as well as the difficult ones. We used to be scared of problems, but now we have practiced the emergency drills and know what is normal and what isn’t. As a result we are no longer afraid that women will die.”

During the COVID-19 outbreak, TBAs have become increasingly important. Our recent COVID-19 study conducted in the villages, found that ambulant visits from government midwives had stopped and villagers were also unable to leave the village for healthcare needs due to the lockdown. Without the trained TBAs, most women would not receive antenatal support and would have to give birth at home without a trained practitioner.  

Despite the ongoing challenges posed by the Coronavirus, we have been able to gain government permission to travel out to villages to provide health education and support to local health workers. In April, we reached 135 villages and four camps for internally displaced people. Our aim for the coming year is to continue to reach out to communities in need. Under this project, we will provide support to expand the ToTs work to a further 24 rural villages. The local trainers will be equipped to deliver a bespoke training package to TBAs, whilst our staff team will provide Maternal and Neonatal health services to women across a larger geographical area through outreach services from our local clinic. 

Thanks to your financial giving, we have been able to train and develop a strong local staff team to support this work. Do click through to our website here to see a short update on the amazing team serving their local communities as a result of your support.

With thanks for your continued generosity,

Hannah

Training the local team in mother and baby clinics
Training the local team in mother and baby clinics
In-situ training for community TBAs
In-situ training for community TBAs
A local trainer leading the TBA training programme
A local trainer leading the TBA training programme
Sep 9, 2020

The transforming power of education

Dr ShweHuLian, FEP graduate & Health & Hope staff
Dr ShweHuLian, FEP graduate & Health & Hope staff

Many families in Chin State are faced with the overwhelming reality of premature death on a regular basis. Poverty, access to medicines and health care services, education and diet are all contributing factors. The devastating consequences of loss are all encompassing and affect every aspect of life.

The Freedom to Education Project (FEP) is an opportunity for young people to see cycles of poverty broken and to make a significant difference to the lives of their families and communities. Dr Shwehulian was an FEP student who studied medicine in the Philippines for seven years. He qualified as a medical doctor in 2017 before completing a post graduate internship year. The following testimony is Shwehulian's story of loss and a life transformed through hope and education:

 

My name is Shwehulian, I am the youngest of seven children.  I now work as a medical doctor for Health & Hope. I grew up in a small village in Chin State. My father was a government trained public health worker and my mother took care of the children and ran the house. 

In 2002 my father passed away after suffering an acute asthma attack. We had no access to life saving medication like salbutamol that could have saved him. Two years later, in 2004, one of my older brothers passed away during a mining accident as he tried to earn enough money to feed his family. He was taken to a local hospital, but with limited access to medications, equipment and staff, the hospital was ill-equipped to deal with patients presenting with significant trauma. 

The following year, in 2005, my sister became pregnant with her fifth child. It was a normal pregnancy, but she passed away during childbirth. The baby survived and was given to my aunt to look after. That same year, five women from my sisters village died during childbirth. 

I decided in that moment that I had to do something. How many more people needed to die for lack of doctors, medicines and adequate health care? I was prepared to do anything, maybe become a health care worker, maybe even a doctor. That was my dream! I decided to study English so that I could go somewhere to study.  At 13 years old I spent my school holidays walking across the border into India to sell chickens and buy gasoline for my family. Whilst there, I found a little work cleaning windows or out on the farms and with that money I bought books to study. I had never owned anything in my life, I was so proud of my books. 

During one journey I was kidnapped by the local army and for 2 weeks they trained me to become a soldier. I was afraid and cried a lot. Eventually they let me go, but not before they had taken all my chickens and eaten them.

In 2006 my brother suffered an acute asthma attack. The nearest hospital was a few days travel through the mountains and we had to cross a large river. As we crossed the river our boat capsized, and my brother drowned. I couldn’t save him.

This was the turning point for me, I was angry, hurting and
I knew I had to do something. I pushed myself through school to achieve the grades I needed to study at college. For years I faced failure after failure, lost faith in myself and wanted to give up. I could not have imagined how low I felt. Despite my situation, Dr Sasa was a constant support for me, he encouraged and challenged me to not give up on my studies.

I still cannot believe now that I am a qualified doctor! I am passionate about improving the health of my community and providing access to medicines and services I never had the privilege of having as I grew up. 

  

This year Health & Hope are supporting 15 students through the FEP. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many schools and universities remain closed and online classes have been made available. Health & Hope staff continue to support the FEP students through their studies and are committed to ensuring the students are given every opportunity to reach their potential. 

Your support is not only changing the lives of the individual students, but also having a wider-reaching impact on local communities through providing the skills and expertise needed to reach out and sustain our work amongst the most vulnerable in western Myanmar. Thank you!

 

Dr Shwe Hu Lian running an outreach clinic
Dr Shwe Hu Lian running an outreach clinic
Dr Shwe Hu Lian running an outreach clinic
Dr Shwe Hu Lian running an outreach clinic
Health & Hope staff-many of whom are FEP graduates
Health & Hope staff-many of whom are FEP graduates
 
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