Burma

Multi-Level Partnerships to Promote Health (Global Public Health, April 2008)

Ethnic populations in eastern Burma are the target of military policies that result in forced labor, destruction of food supplies, and massive forced displacement. Despite international assistance to Burmese refugees along the Thailand-Burma border, traditional
humanitarian models have failed to reach these internally displaced persons (IDPs) within Burma. Nevertheless, through the cultivation of a model (cross border local-global partnerships) 300,000 IDPs in eastern Burma now receive critical health services where, otherwise, there would be none.

Against the Odds: Helping Mothers and Babies Survive (CPI Partners, Nov. 2011)

A report on the Mobile Obstetrics Maternal Health Worker (MOM) Project by CPI  partner organizations the Burma Medical Association and the Mae Tao Clinic

In eastern Myanmar half a million internally displaced persons live in the cross-fire of the world's longest on-going civil conflict, and women face grave risks giving birth. Surveys conducted by CPI 's local partners showed that the vast majority of women gave birth at home without a trained attendant, and fewer that five percent had access to emergency obstetric care.

KDHW: Making Pregnancy and Childbirth Safer in Burma / Myanmar's Conflict Zones

MAE SOT, 17 October 2011 (IRIN) - In conflict-afflicted eastern Myanmar, until recently obstetric care was often crude, unsterile and dangerous for both mother and child, health experts say.

When labour pains began, traditional birth attendants routinely pushed the woman's stomach, sometimes injuring or killing the baby; others used sharp slivers of bamboo, which had been cleaned with charcoal, to cut the umbilical cord, leading to deadly infections.

The Water Pipe Monk

For hundreds of displaced villagers relocated to arid lowlands in northern Burma, water pipes mean more than just water.

Thanks to the creativity of a local “Water Pipe Monk,” the resourcefulness of our  local partners and the cooperation of neighbors on the lush mountainside above, here’s what springs from a small irrigation project in Shan State: an expanded primary school attended by 106 children;  terraced farmland for essential crops; agricultural training for people living with HIV/AIDs.

CROSS-CUTTING INITIATIVES

Real life sprawls across categories. Tackling diarrheal diseases, for example, takes medicine, hygiene training, and toilets. A single project in isolation, even if it’s a good one, can’t by itself move a whole community forward. That’s why we work with our local partners to integrate health, education and community development.

Women and children in Burma: Healthy families = Healthy communities

Women in Burma are disproportionately responsible for raising children, caring for the sick, earning income and feeding their families, so having access to quality reproductive health services, including safe births and emergency obstetric care — even in the most isolated village — is key to building thriving communities. Together with our local partners, CPI focuses on improving screening, diagnosis, treatment and prevention services to address critical health concerns in Burma: maternal mortality, malaria, malnutrition.

PUBLIC HEALTH EDUCATION

“In my village in Pa’an district, there aren’t any nurses or clinics. Women can’t access healthcare and some die after delivery. Most children are very thin and suffer low weight because they have no food; they eat boiled rice water. When I become a public health worker, I will go back and work for my village.” 
— Public Health Institute Student

It Takes a Village Health Worker: The key to healthy communities in eastern Burma / Myanmar

In a Karen village of chickens and woven-thatch homes is “Aunty,” a traditional woman with her hair in a bun. She teaches about hand washing, latrines and nutrition, and tests for and treats malaria. Aunty is chosen by the community, and she’s there to help 24/7.

Health Systems Strengthening

In eastern Myanmar, one in seven children die before they reach the age of five, and many of these deaths — due to diarrhea, pneumonia and malaria — are easily preventable. The challenge is to provide essential basic services to tens of thousands of villagers who have become nearly inaccessible due to civil conflict, displacement, and isolated and rugged terrain.

"No Backup Out There"

In the mountainous jungle of eastern Myanmar, a petite 24-year-old Karen woman peels back layers of white plastic and cloth wrapped around a stalk of sugar cane — a prop simulating bone, muscle and skin — before cutting it with a cable saw to practice amputation.

The exercise — part of a trauma skills workshop facilitated by CPI and our partner organization, the Karen Department of Health and Welfare  (KDHW) — is a stark reminder of the border region’s rampant malaria, malnutrition and conflict-related trauma, including one of the world’s highest rates of landmine injuries.

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