Myanmar’s Humanitarian Crisis: “Because of conflict, people can’t move freely, making it difficult to get food and medical supplies.”
In Kayin (Karen) State, southeast Myanmar (Burma), renewed conflict between the Myanmar military and ethnic nationality organizations has displaced thousands of people and created a humanitarian crisis against the backdrop of a rising wave of COVID-19. With support from the Livelihoods and Food Security Fund (LIFT), Community Partners International (CPI) is helping local partner the Karen Ethnic Health Organizations Consortium (KEHOC) to provide displaced and conflict-affected women, newborns and young children with essential nutrition support, safe water, and hygiene and sanitation.
Voices From the Pandemic: “Thirty to forty people in our village died from a lack of oxygen, including my grandmother.”
“My grandmother’s blood oxygen level dropped to 80% and she couldn’t eat or drink. At the end, she was so weak that she couldn’t breathe from the oxygen tank. Losing a family member in front of my eyes really made me understand the danger of COVID-19.”
In early October 2021, Elizabeth’s whole family came down with COVID-19 in their village in Ayeyarwady Region, Myanmar. The country was in the midst of a devastating third wave that killed many thousands of people. The health system, already shattered by political unrest, was overwhelmed.
On January 2, 2022, five days after the first confirmed cases of the COVID-19 Omicron variant were detected in Myanmar, a new oxygen generation plant supported by Community Partners International and the Access to Health Fund opened at a facility operated by the Karen Department of Health and Welfare (KDHW) in Hpa-An, Kayin (Karen) State.
In April, conflict in Chin State, western Myanmar, pushed villagers over the border into India where the Delta variant of COVID-19 was spreading rapidly. Soon after they returned, COVID-19 cases in Chin State began to spike. Due to Myanmar’s ongoing political crisis, the local public health system had little capacity to respond. Community Partners International (CPI) and local partner the Hualngo Land Development Organization (HLDO) mobilized to provide COVID-19 prevention and care to people in desperate need.
Since late July, heavy rains in Kutupalong Refugee Camp, Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, have caused widespread flooding and landslides, damaging shelters and facilities, and displacing and affecting thousands of people. Rohingya volunteers supported by Community Partners International have been at the forefront of efforts to help those affected.
The B.K. Kee Foundation and other philanthropists have set up a $1.1 million match fund to help save lives in Myanmar (Burma) in the midst of a catastrophic surge in COVID-19 cases. The fund will double-match donations to Asia-focused California nonprofit Community Partners International's Myanmar COVID-19 SOS campaign while match funds last.
COVID-19 moves fast, and ever faster as new, more infectious variants emerge. This creates challenges for all public health systems but especially those in low-resource settings like Nepal. In these contexts, the ability to track resource needs and gaps in an accurate and timely way and deploy limited resources efficiently becomes even more crucial in the race to save lives.
Seeking to address these challenges in Nepal, Community Partners International (CPI), the blockchain tech company Ibriz and design agency Kazi Studios have created an open online platform called Relief Connect - reliefconnect.org.
On May 29, 2021, Community Partners International’s first shipment of 130 high-flow oxygen concentrators to Nepal touched down at Tribhuvan Airport in Kathmandu. Sourced in the United States, and airlifted with assistance from Direct Relief, the concentrators will help the people of Nepal in their desperate struggle with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This partnership improves the hospital’s ability to provide comprehensive emergency care for vulnerable patients.” Dr. Md. Mahbubur Rahman, Cox's Bazar Civil Surgeon
As Bangladesh and South Asia experience spikes in COVID-19 cases, Community Partners International (CPI) and Green Hill have mobilized to help Sadar Hospital in Cox’s Bazar cope with a rise in patients needing care.
The photograph above shows a COVID-19 patient at Saroj Gupta Cancer Centre and Research Institute in Kolkata, West Bengal, India, using an oxygen concentrator provided by Community Partners International and partners. This is one of 4,759 concentrators that have now reached India on five relief flights. They have been distributed to more than 70 health facilities in 19 states and territories where needs are greatest. At least 500 more are scheduled to be shipped later this month.