International Women’s Day: “There are many girls suffering in silence, too shy to talk about health issues.”
Raju, 51, lives in Kutupalong Refugee Camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. She works as a Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) volunteer supported by Community Partners International (CPI) and local partner Green Hill helping Rohingya refugee women and girls to access essential health services. To mark International Women’s Day, Raju spoke to Community Partners International about her work and community, and the health and hygiene challenges faced by women and girls.
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.
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.
Myanmar Launches HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis Services in Major Milestone for National HIV Prevention
On July 31st, 2020, HIV healthcare providers and other key stakeholders gathered at an event in Yangon to inaugurate Myanmar’s first HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) clinics. This marks a major milestone for Myanmar’s strategic response to HIV, and will contribute to the scaling up of HIV prevention efforts.
"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.”
World AIDS Day: “I visit patients’ houses secretly to look after them when they are too ill to go to hospital.”
Thiri, 37, found out that she was HIV positive during a routine checkup while pregnant in 2013. She was afraid and alone. “I was so scared that others would find out that I had HIV so I didn’t leave the house for a long time. I couldn’t tell my parents.”
In Myanmar, violence against women and girls is a silent emergency. It takes many forms: domestic and intimate partner violence perpetrated within families; unwanted touching and sexual harassment on public transport; and violence occurring in conflict zones where women are particularly vulnerable. In a national survey carried out in 2015 and 2016, one in seven women in Myanmar reported that they had experienced violence since the age of 15. The real number is likely to be many more.
Ma Hnin, 26, lives in South Dagon township, a suburb to the northeast of Yangon, Myanmar's commercial capital. Ma Hnin’s family moved to South Dagon six years ago from a village further east. “It is easier to earn money in Yangon. That’s why my family moved here,” she says. Ma Hnin lives together with her parents, husband and two children - a three-year-old daughter and three-month-old son. Her husband and father both work for a local saw mill. Just over three years ago, when she was pregnant with her first child, Ma Hnin found out that she was hepatitis B positive.
Many women in remote and conflict-affected communities of Kachin State, Myanmar, lack access to reliable and comprehensive birth control options. Until recently in Myanmar, injectable hormonal birth control could only be provided by midwives. However, most communities in Kachin State do not have regular access to midwife services. In an important recent development, the Myanmar Ministry of Health and Sports (MoHS) introduced new guidelines allowing auxiliary midwives (AMWs) to administer a self-injectable hormonal birth control option (known as DMPA-SC), once they have been sufficiently trained. As the AMW network can reach more remote communities, this change has the potential to transform access to reliable and comprehensive birth control for many thousands of women of reproductive age in Kachin State and across Myanmar.