Effective policymaking in health care requires a strong evidence base generated through best practice research. As Myanmar moves forward with the implementation of the National Health Plan and the goal to achieve Universal Health Coverage by 2030, the ability to draw on existing national and global research and commission new research to inform and guide policymaking will be a crucial component in the success of these initiatives and Myanmar’s longer term health systems strengthening objectives. Community Partners International (CPI) is working collaboratively with a broad group of key stakeholders to strengthen the evidence base for health policymaking in Myanmar.
The onset of sudden illness or a traumatic injury can be particularly dangerous for the 905,000 Rohingya refugees from Myanmar sheltering in and around Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. With populations dispersed over very large areas, often in remote and isolated locations, access to health services is limited. This is particularly the case at night, when many community clinics and other health services are closed. The arrival of the monsoon rains, and the greatly increased risk of floods and landslides, intensifies the urgent need for rapidly accessible, community-based emergency health services for Rohingya refugees.
From April 9-11, 2018, Community Partners International (CPI) and the Health Information Systems Working Group (HISWG) co-hosted the first Eastern Border Public Health Research Forum in Mae Sot, Thailand, with support from Queen’s University, Ontario, Canada and Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, USA. The forum brought together ethnic and community-based health organizations delivering health services in eastern Myanmar and international advisors with expertise in public health research. Together they explored public health research approaches and methodologies, and strategized priority areas for future research in eastern Myanmar.
Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) provide the vital first line of primary health care to Rohingya communities in refugee settlements around Cox’s Bazar. Traveling on foot from house to house, they help educate and inform households on key health issues, collect health data, carry out basic health monitoring and refer patients in need of care. A part of the community themselves, they are able to quickly build trust and rapport. To support CHVs in this crucial work, Community Partners International (CPI) recently launched an initiative to develop a health application for use on handheld devices.