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.”
"We hope that Rohingya children feel happy seeing our cards and that they think, ‘I received this. There are others out there who care for me.’"
These are the words of Faryal Asim, 14. To mark World Refugee Day, Faryal and a group of friends from Houston, Texas, designed cards expressing their solidarity and support for Rohingya children from Myanmar living as refugees in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. Faryal and her friends are members of families who have supported Community Partners International (CPI)'s Rohingya Refugee Response since the beginning of the refugee crisis in August 2017. "After hearing what they were going through we decided to make cards for them to make sure they know to stay brave and courageous and to not give up," Faryal explains.
Stepping Up to Scale: How Ethnic Health Providers in Myanmar Can Deliver Better Services And Show Results
For ethnic health providers in Myanmar to persuasively make the case for increased funding to support comprehensive care, they need to provide clear evidence of needs and results. Community Partners International (CPI) and the Karen Ethnic Health Organizations Consortium (KEHOC) are working together in Kayin State and Bago Region to standardize services and staffing and collect and use population data to measure, verify and improve health services under a pilot purchasing model.
Mountains, Bridges & Barricades: The Challenges of COVID-19 Prevention in Myanmar’s Naga Self-Administered Zone
In Myanmar’s restive and remote Naga Self-Administered Zone (SAZ), there are only two medical doctors to serve the needs of an estimated 130,000 people. In April 2020, with the COVID-19 pandemic threatening communities across Myanmar, Community Partners International (CPI) supported local civil society organization the Eastern Naga Development Organization (ENDO) to raise awareness of COVID-19 risks and prevention measures in 108 remote villages in five townships: Lahe, Leshi and Nanyun in the Naga SAZ, and the neighboring townships of Hkamti and Pansaung.
Community Partners International (CPI)’s Myanmar team has been busy supporting conflict-affected, hard-to-reach and under-served communities across Myanmar to establish and maintain COVID-19 prevention and response activities. Here are some of the ways that CPI has been mobilizing to help our ethnic and community-based health organization partners in the past few weeks.
On March 24, Myanmar announced its first two confirmed cases of COVID-19. The day before, with the supply of hand sanitizer diminishing rapidly and the retail price rising fourfold in a short period of time, Community Partners International (CPI)'s Myanmar team started to produce it in their office in Yangon. It was already clear that the network of community-based clinics and health workers serving hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people in displacement camps, remote communities and urban slums across Myanmar would struggle to source sufficient quantities of hand sanitizer to meet their needs. By sourcing the raw materials early, and producing it themselves, CPI's Myanmar team planned to help bridge the gap and reduce the spread of COVID-19.
CPI Distributes Essential Medical Supplies to 180 Clinics across Myanmar to Support COVID-19 Preparedness
On April 3, the basement of Community Partners International (CPI)'s office in Yangon was converted into a packing station to prepare packages of essential medical supplies for 180 clinics across Myanmar. The packages will help clinics to bridge gaps in essential needs and replenish medicine stocks for the coming two to three months as part of COVID-19 preparedness.
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.
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.