In June, Community Partners International (CPI) opened a new clinic in Kayin (Karen) State in southeast Myanmar to provide health care support to survivors of gender-based violence. The CPI clinic, situated in Kyainseikgyi town, will provide a referral point for 13 community clinics that serve almost 65,000 people in 123 remote villages with basic health care.
Though it may look unassuming, the work of CPI’s new clinic is groundbreaking. This region of Myanmar has only recently, and tentatively, emerged from more than six decades of brutal civil war. Violence is etched deeply into the physical and psychological landscape. And violence against women and girls in particular has been widely documented throughout this period.
Survivors of gender-based violence too often receive little understanding or support, and few if any services. Cultural stigma and a widespread lack of awareness have condemned thousands of women and girls to suffer in the shadows. The CPI clinic is part of a wider CPI project funded by a United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) grant to try and change this.
The CPI clinic is staffed by six local doctors, nurses, and social workers with extensive experience in offering women and girls who have experienced gender-based violence specialist health care, support, counseling, and referral services.
The CPI clinic staff provide training and support to the 13 community clinics to help them raise awareness and understanding of gender-based violence in their communities, and provide the first line of health care and support to survivors. For more serious cases, survivors are referred to CPI’s clinic where they can access specialist services to aid them in their recovery.
By working closely with our community partners, our goal is to ensure that women and girls who have experienced gender-based violence never have to suffer alone. We want to help lift the veil of silence on this issue and change attitudes and practices that help perpetuate violence against women and girls.