Myanmar’s Immunization Emergency: “If we can’t find more vaccines, coverage could drop to zero.”
Data from the World Health Organization (WHO) show a collapse in routine immunization coverage of children in Myanmar (Burma) between 2020 and 2021. We talk to a representative of a community-based partner organization supported by Community Partners International (CPI) about the situation she is experiencing on the ground in conflict-affected areas of southeast Myanmar, and the potentially devastating impact this could have on vulnerable communities.
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.
Moments after the health post’s doors opened for the very first time on Thursday, December 2, 2021, eight-year-old Omme came in with her father Abul. She was suffering from abdominal pain and fever. The doctor on duty saw Omme immediately and provided care. “Everyone is helpful here,” remarked Abul. “The doctor listened carefully and gave my daughter medicine. I am happy.”
In late August, Community Partners International (CPI) and local partner Green Hill broke ground on a new health post in Camp 1W of Kutupalong Refugee Camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Scheduled to open by the end of October, the health post will offer free primary health care services to Rohingya refugees and Bangladeshi host communities in the surrounding area.
"I didn’t understand what a vaccine was. I just heard that they can leave permanent marks on the skin and cause fever." Tasmin, 24, pregnant mother of two children
Tasmin’s perception of vaccines is fairly common among her fellow Rohingya refugees in Kutupalong, Bangladesh, the world’s largest refugee camp. With limited access to accurate health information, misunderstandings and false rumors can travel rapidly within the community.
Community Immunity: Rohingya Immunization Volunteers Poised to Support COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout
Mohammad Taher is a Rohingya Community Immunization Volunteer supported by Community Partners International (CPI) and Green Hill in the world's largest refugee camp in Bangladesh. Each day, he visits households in his neighborhood to help pregnant and women and young children get vaccinated against deadly diseases.
Ayesha and Jannat are Rohingya refugees from Myanmar sheltering in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. They fled violence in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine State in 2017 with their families, walking for many days to reach the Bangladesh border. Today, they live in Kutupalong, the world’s largest refugee camp. Both receive assistance from networks of Rohingya community health and water, sanitation and hygiene volunteers supported by Community Partners International (CPI). Here are their stories.
In Kachin State, Myanmar, nearly 100,000 people live in displacement camps. Some have been there for 10 years or more, forced to flee their homes due to the conflict that continues to rage in this restive and contested region. COVID-19 is now spreading rapidly in Myanmar and the country has one of the world’s weakest health systems. The cramped and crowded conditions in displacement camps make residents especially vulnerable.
An Epidemic Within a Pandemic: Safeguarding Myanmar's Newborns From Hepatitis B During COVID-19
"We have a real opportunity here to push back hepatitis B. With the right approach, we can free a generation of children in Myanmar from this debilitating and deadly virus.”
Seven years ago, Khin Aye went for a routine prenatal check-up while pregnant with her first child. The hospital staff conducted a blood test. “When the test came back, they told me I had hepatitis B.”
Medical Makeovers: Improving Ethnic Health Facilities to Meet Community Health Service Needs
With support from the Access to Health Fund, Community Partners International is working with ethnic and community-based health organizations in Myanmar to improve community health facilities. This initiative is helping to refurbish and equip 16 facilities so that they can deliver a basic essential package of health services to conflict-affected, hard-to-reach and under-served communities.