Shomshida lives in the world’s largest and most densely populated refugee camp, Kutupalong, in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Kutupalong is currently home to more than 600,000 Rohingya refugees from Rakhine State. Myanmar. She shares her small shelter, a rickety structure of bamboo and tarpaulin, with her husband and two-year old son. In late August 2017, she fled the violence in Rakhine State with her extended family. They walked for 15 days through jungle and across rivers, eventually reaching the border and crossing into Bangladesh. Her elderly father was unable to walk so they carried him throughout the arduous journey.
Despite significant progress in recent years, Myanmar continues to face many challenges to ensure that children thrive. Community Partners International (CPI) is supporting a cooperative initiative between the Government of Myanmar and the Karen Ethnic Health Organizations Consortium to use cash transfers to boost the health of children in the first 1,000 days of life in contested areas of Kayin (Karen) State.
In Myanmar, an estimated 116,800 babies are born premature (before 37 completed weeks of gestation) each year. Among children under five, 21% of deaths are attributed to premature birth complications. A growing body of evidence suggests that kangaroo mother care (KMC), where mothers hold premature babies skin-to-skin to prevent hypothermia and support early breastfeeding, is one of several key ways to help premature babies survive and thrive.
In August 2017, Shofika fled violence in Rakhine State, Myanmar, and crossed the border into Bangladesh with her husband and three children, ages six, four and two. She sought shelter in the Kutupalong Expansion Site refugee camp in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, that houses more than 600,000 Rohingya refugees. It is currently the world’s largest refugee camp. In early 2018, Shofika became pregnant with her fourth child.
On August 9 and 11, 2018, Community Partners International (CPI) distributed Dignity Kits to 500 women of reproductive age, including pregnant women and adolescent girls, affected by ongoing flooding in Kayin State, Myanmar. The Dignity Kits contain a range of items to support female hygiene and protect the health and safety of women facing displacement and other challenges due to the floods. These include a sarong, a bra, underwear, sanitary pads, a blanket, soap, laundry detergent, a toothbrush and toothpaste.
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.
On January 19, 2018, 30 active and skilled members of the Rohingya refugee community in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, completed a five-day training course to help prepare them to become Community Health Volunteers. The course was supported and facilitated by Community Partners International (CPI) in association with our community partner Prottyashi, with training participants from Prottyashi and PULSE Bangladesh.
Jamtoli spontaneous settlement in Cox’s Bazar District, Bangladesh, is a temporary home to nearly 50,000 Rohingya refugees seeking protection from ongoing violence in northern Rakhine State, Myanmar. Since August 25, 2017, more than 650,000 refugees have crossed the border into Bangladesh, and more continue to arrive each day. The great majority of refugees are women, children (including newborns) and the elderly.
At first glance, Daw Ja Ring’s hands are unremarkable. Yet these hands have ushered into the world hundreds of the babies born in Shwe Gyin village, Kachin State, in the last twenty-five years. Daw Ja Ring is Shwe Gyin village’s trained birth attendant, a role she undertook when she was just 18 years old. Now, at 43, she has lost count of the exact number of births she has attended but estimates that it must be at least 300.
On Thursday, November 17, Community Partners International (CPI) hosted the first ever World Prematurity Day event focused on Myanmar. Held in Mae Sot, on the Thailand-Myanmar border, the event focused on raising awareness about premature birth in Myanmar. While the scale of the problem is significant, with an estimated 116,800 babies born premature each year in Myanmar, and 21% of deaths of children under 5 caused by premature birth complications, there is little understanding or awareness at national or community level.