Oct 3, 2019

Reaching out to remote communities in Myanmar (Burma)

Childhood screening
Childhood screening

Thank you so much for your continued support of our Maternal & Child Health project.

In our last update, we shared with you about the workshops conducted with Area Coordinators earlier in the year. We also mentioned that due to the escalation of conflict in the region, we were unable to conduct the planned training for Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) that was due to take place in February.

We can't understate the seriousness of how the conflict has left some of our health workers isolated and vulnerable.  One of them reported to us:

"Around the village there is active fighting.  We're not allowed to travel and there are curfews in place.  We've been unable to harvest the remaining crops due to the fear of landmines.  I tried to visit other health workers near my home, but I was stopped three times and questioned by rebel groups, the army and the police.  They asked me; 'are you a spy?', 'why are you carrying medicines?', 'are you treating the rebels?'.

After being questioned for six hours I had to return home.  I was able to visit only four villages in June and July, since then I was sent back by the army. The internet connection was shutdown, so this is the first time that I am able to share what has happened."

Despite the ongoing challenging situation, our staff team have been able to conduct a number of outreach visits to remote villages, as well as running some mobile clinics in IDP camps where communities have had to flee their homes. Below is an extract from a trip report written by Dr Pahu, one of the project leaders:

It took us 24 days to travel through four areas and 13 villages. In some areas, the travel was so difficult and in some areas we were unable to travel because of the curfews.

We saw more than 700 patients, met with village administrators and Village Health Committees.  We were able to check on the activities of the Community Health Workers (CHWs) and TBAs. We were also able to undertake childhood screening for over 270 children in schools in some villages. The main medical conditions were gastritis, gynaecological problems for women, acute respiratory disorders, suspected anaemia and eye health. 

We were also able to carry out the baseline survey of the communities we are supporting. Together we carried out 96 interviews and also distributed many health education leaflets, helping to explain to the villagers how they can better take care of their own health needs.”

As a result of these outreach visits and surveys, we have also been able to assess the impact of previous years' work. For example, we found that almost 70% of the population assessed now know how to treat a child under 5 who is suffering with diarrhoea, which sadly is still a common cause of death for young children in the region. Simple post-natal practices such as breastfeeding within 1 hour of birth and exclusively breastfeeding up to 5 months, are also being adopted in order to improve the early chances of survival for newborns. 

The quote below is from one CHW, who has seen the direct results from their training:

"My name is Khai and I am from Tlopi village in Chin State.  I was chosen by my village to be trained as a health worker under Health and Hope and at the time I went to the India border to join six months training. Since I have returned home, many things have improved thanks to the health knowledge that was shared.  We have reduced the mortality rate of children under 10, and not one has died from diarrhoea thanks to the way we have been instructed to care for them.  Also, there have been a lot of snake bites in my village, and many people used to die.  However, I learnt some knowledge about managing snake bites from the health training and I shared this with my village.  I am so happy that I have been able to save two people’s lives thanks to the knowledge I learnt from training at Health and Hope.

Sometimes it is very difficult for us in the villages.  It is so remote we have not been able to participate in further training.  So it was an unexpected joy when the doctors from Health and Hope came to visit my village and offer clinics for patients and training. I know that resources are so limited and there are so many villages, but I was amazed and so thankful to them that they came. I really appreciate Health and Hope's love for us and all that they have sacrificed to help us. I pray that they will be able to return regularly to help us."

Although there is still plenty of work to be done, it is encouraging to see the positive impact of our work to date through the training and support of TBAs and CHWs in the region.

As the monsoon rains clear, the team in Lailenpi are starting to plan the next phase of training workshops for local TBAs and Area Co-ordinators who will be involved in bringing maternal and child health care to remote communities across the region. 

We are so grateful for your ongoing support. We currently have a real need to top-up funding for this project to enable two workshops to run over the course of the next six months.  If you are able to support our work financially, please do click below to give via Global Giving.

Thank you again for you interest in our work. Our next update will follow the journey of two midwives from the UK visiting the jungles of Myanmar, conducting training for the local women and also government midwives in the region. 

Mobile clinics
Mobile clinics
Childhood screening
Childhood screening
Inside the IDP camps
Inside the IDP camps
Transporting medicines to remote communities
Transporting medicines to remote communities
Sep 12, 2019

The training centre is now in use!

Launch of Education for All in the Training Centre
Launch of Education for All in the Training Centre

We're delighted that the Training Centre is now in daily use despite there still being a few jobs left both inside and outside to complete the building. 

While the monsoon rains are in full swing, the project teams have been busy launching the new Education for All project, designed to transform the pass rate amongst Year 10 students from 30 rural villages in western Myanmar (Burma). You can read more about Education for All at this link.

Meanwhile, the construction teams are making steady progress with finishing the staffing quarters under the new roof construction.  The redesign provided a further 4,200 square feet of accommodation, allowing for staff and visitors to stay on site. This has provided a safe place away from the strong winds which have threatened to topple the original office building over the last few months. 

Once the rains have stopped, the exterior walls will be rendered and painted to help protect the concrete, make the building fully watertight and give it that finished look.

We've just received confirmation of a generous offer to equip one of the rooms of the building as an IT suite, which will arrive into Lailenpi around the same time as the first mobile data connection is turned on in the village.  This will provide a rich learning environment for the hundreds of people that attend training at the centre every year.

We are still hoping to raise around $15,000 to complete the building, which will support our work across the fields of health, education and food security in western Myanmar.  If you are able to help us reach this target, or would like any further information about the project, please contact our Executive Director on: chris.jones@healthandhope.org

Thank you so much for your support!

Education for All up and running!
Education for All up and running!
Waiting for the monsoon to end!
Waiting for the monsoon to end!
Additional rooms under the new roof design
Additional rooms under the new roof design
Staff quarters
Staff quarters
What the cyclone did two years ago
What the cyclone did two years ago
Jun 13, 2019

Training centre update: The roof is on!

Health and Hope Training Centre, Lailenpi
Health and Hope Training Centre, Lailenpi

"On 30th May 2017, Cyclone Mora made landfall in Bangladesh before moving northwards through western Myanmar. Torrential rain and high winds destroyed homes and triggered landslides in rural villages with 37 families made homeless in the village of Lailenpi where Health and Hope Myanmar’s work is based.

In addition, we were devastated to lose the majority of the training centre facilities; seven buildings were destroyed including the main training hall, kitchen and dining area and four dormitory buildings."  Excerpt from the Health and Hope Newsletter June 2017.

Two years on, it's incredible to look back and see how much progress has been made on the building of the training centre post Cyclone Mora.

We are so grateful for each individual who has given so generously to help rebuild the training centre in Lailenpi. Work on the training centre has made great progress and the roof is finally on! With the monsoon season fast approaching, the team have been working hard to finish the building and ensure it is water tight before the heavy rains arrive. Over recent months, the roof trusses and structure have been completed, the walls white-washed inside and the windows and door frames installed.

More photos of the project can be seen in our Flickr album here

Once complete, the building will not only provide facilities for ongoing training of Community Health Workers, Traditional Birth Attendants and farmers, but will also be a base for the new Education for All project which will launch in earnest in mid-June 2019. The training centre will provide classroom facilities, study areas and accommodation for up to 100 students taking part in this project.

There are a few weeks of work to fully complete the project, some of which may not be possible until after the monsoon season.  We've also extended the roof to allow for the construction of staff accommodation on the top floor at minimal cost and we're now looking to raise the final $15,000 to complete the facility.

The building stands as a testimony of the hard work of local community members, combined with the generous support of individuals like yourself, who have stood alongside us in a time of need.

Thank you again for your support for this project!

The roof in construction
The roof in construction
Completed roof
Completed roof
Training room / classroom
Training room / classroom
 
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