training

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.

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

"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.

Trauma Care

There are no doctors or hospitals for eastern Myanmar’s half million displaced civilians, living in a region with one of the highest rates of landmine injuries in the world. Rapid access to trauma care is critical for landmine victims because of blood loss and severity of injury: approximately one in three survivors require amputation.

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$40 treats one severely malnourished child in a therapeutic feeding program. In villages in eastern Myanmar, one-third of all children are malnourished.

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