Community Partners International's Board Chair Dr. Tom Lee is an Emergency Room Physician working on the front lines of the COVID-19 response in Los Angeles. In this blog post, he reflects on the challenges he has seen in the last few weeks as the U.S. struggles to cope with the COVID-19 outbreak, and shares his concerns about the potential impact of the pandemic on countries with fragile health systems like Myanmar and Bangladesh.
"There is a tendency during times like these that we look inwards – to our families and to ourselves. But we must also continue to look outwards – to our friends, our communities, our country and the world."
Community Partners International (CPI)'s Board Chair Dr. Tom Lee, Board President Stan Sze and Executive Director Dr. Si Thura share a message of solidarity and support regarding the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Since 2012, Myanmar has made extraordinary gains against malaria. The confirmed number of malaria cases declined by 85% between 2012 and 2018, and the reported number of deaths by 95%. In 2018, only 19 deaths in Myanmar were officially attributed to malaria (1). However, the continued presence of malaria in remote and under-served communities, and the emergence of Myanmar as a hotspot of multidrug resistance, mean that we must guard against complacency. With support from the Access to Health Fund, Community Partners International (CPI) is working closely with community partners and other stakeholders to eliminate pockets of multidrug-resistant malaria through mobile mass screening in 10 prioritized townships in Kayin and Mon States in southeastern Myanmar, as part of an integrated package of health services.
Down a dusty side street on the outskirts of Myitkyina in Kachin State, the "clack-clack" of wooden looms can be heard in the distance. Drawing closer, in a compound fenced with bamboo, a modest house with walls of woven bamboo slats and a zinc roof sits on concrete stilts. It is home to Ja Dwal Weaving.
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.