On January 24, 2018, representatives from the Myanmar Ministry of Health and Sports (MoHS) and ethnic and community-based health organizations gathered together at the State Health Department in Loikaw, Myanmar, to mark the Kayah State launch of Community Partners International’s (CPI) Better Health Together (BHT) project.
Led by CPI and funded by the Three Millennium Development Goal Fund (3MDG), the BHT project aims to strengthen health systems and improve access to integrated, quality health services for conflict-affected, underserved and hard-to-reach communities in five states and regions of Myanmar. Using a community-based, task-shifting approach, the BHT project supports a network of 120 field supervisors and 597 Village Health Workers (VHWs) to provide health services to 326,932 people in 994 villages.
The BHT project is helping to formalize and structure cooperation and coordination between M0HS and ethnic and community-based organizations that deliver the first line of health services in project areas. These organizations are a crucial link in the chain of health and are playing an essential role in supporting the roll out a Basic Essential Package of Health Services (EPHS) to all citizens by 2020, and the wider goal of achieving universal health coverage by 2030.
In Kayah State specifically, the BHT project is working closely with the State Health Department, the Civil Health and Development Network (CHDN) and the Karen Baptist Convention to scale-up health service delivery to more than 150,000 people in 571 villages in seven townships. As part of their cooperation, these stakeholders will hold coordination meetings, conduct joint monitoring visits to project sites, and carry out joint health care initiatives including Tuberculosis (TB) case finding and screening, using a portable x-ray machine and collecting sputum samples for analysis. Representatives from Kayah State and Township Health Departments will also contribute to workshops with community health workers to help train them to support ongoing TB and malaria initiatives in their communities.
Guests at the launch event included the Deputy Director General of the M0HS Department of Public Health, the Kayah State Health Director and Assistant Director, Township Health Officers, Nurses and Health Assistants and representatives from the Civil Health and Development Network, the Karen Baptist Convention, 3MDG and CPI.
The BHT project builds on the foundations and gains of the Community Leaders Eliminating Artemisinin Resistance (CLEAR) project, a four-year (2013-2017) partnership between CPI and 3MDG to control and eliminate malaria in target areas of five states and regions of Myanmar.