In late May, and early June, 2018, health worker teams from the Karen Department of Health and Welfare (KDHW) embarked on a fourth round of vaccinations for babies, young children and pregnant women in contested and conflict-affected areas of Kayin State, Myanmar. These communities are remote and hard to reach, accessible only along dirt tracks through mountainous and densely forested terrain that become virtually impassable during the monsoon season. This is the story of one team’s journey to provide lifesaving vaccinations to three villages in Kyainseikgyi township.
As Myanmar’s health system evolves and health providers work towards the achievement of Universal Health Coverage by 2030, securing adequate financing remains an enduring challenge. This is particularly true for ethnic health organizations that, despite providing the first line of health services to hundreds of thousands of people in conflict-affected, hard-to-reach and underserved areas of Myanmar, have not received to date any direct financing from the Government of Myanmar. Community Partners International (CPI) is working with two ethnic health organizations in Southeastern Myanmar on a pilot project to model a new approach to health financing in Myanmar: Strategic Purchasing of health services. The intention for this pilot is to inform and guide future financing agreements, and help ethnic health service providers to secure broad, reliable and long-term financing sources to support their lifesaving work.
As part of an ongoing series of forums to raise awareness of and engagement with Universal Health Coverage (UHC) among civil society organizations (CSOs) in Myanmar, Pyi Gyi Khin and Community Partners International (CPI) organized a CSO Health Forum in Sagaing Region on June 5-6, 2018. The forum brought together 116 representatives of 79 CSOs implementing health care activities in Sagaing Region, and 9 members of the Sagaing Region Hluttaw (Parliament).
For Myanmar to achieve the stated ambition to provide Universal Health Coverage (UHC) by 2030, universal access to health services remains a key challenge. This is particularly true for the hundreds of thousands of people living in conflict-affected and hard-to-reach areas of the country where the Ministry of Health and Sports (MoHS) has historically had little or no coverage, and where trust in the national government has been severely eroded by decades of conflict.
Making Universal Health Coverage (UHC) a reality in Myanmar hinges on the support and participation of civil society – bringing their local expertise and community networks into the broader effort to ensure health for all. As part of the process of building understanding of and support for UHC in Chin State, Myanmar, Community Partners International (CPI) and Pyi Gyi Khin organized a Civil Society Organizations (CSO) Health Forum in Hakha, Chin State, on May 17 and 18, 2018.