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5 years of PMM in Myanmar. A summary.

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7 minutes

In December our 5-year long aid program in Myanmar has come to an end. Let’s take a look on a summary of what we have achieved during that time.

The Republic of the Union of Myanmar is one of the poorest countries in Southeast Asia. The Irrawaddy Delta, due to geographical conditions and the prevailing poverty, has a very poorly developed infrastructure. Many places can only be reached by boat. The problem is also insufficient medical care. That is why, in 2016, we decided to start an aid project there in cooperation with the local organization Wakema Township Association.

SUPPORT FOR HEALTH CENTERS AND MOBILE CLINIC

According to WHO data, Myanmar is one of the few countries in the world where the proportion of qualified medical personnel is only 1.3 per 1000 inhabitants. Therefore, supporting the health service and increasing access to high-quality medical care was a priority for us.

  • The Wakema hospital and 9 rural health centers were equipped with the necessary medical equipment.
  • The operating room in the hospital in Wakema was equipped with, among other things in anesthesia machines, surgical instruments.
  • A modern dental chair was purchased. Air conditioning was checked and repaired in the dentist’s office and in the laboratory. The laboratory is equipped with modern devices for blood biochemistry analysis and electrolyte level assessment. Additionally, a patient condition monitor for the recovery room and an EKG machine was purchased.
  • 8669 medical consultations (with the participation of PMM doctors) were provided.
  • A mobile clinic was built and equipped on a boat.
  • 1 rural health center was built in the village of Myit ka Lay.

Since the first cases of coronavirus in Myanmar, some funds have been allocated to support the fight against the pandemic and purchase personal protection kits, helmets and masks for medical and support staff in the district.

TRAINING AND TREATMENT ACTIVITIES

  • 112 midwives were trained in the field of obstetric care, pathology of pregnancy, prevention of infectious and civilization diseases as well as sanitary rules.
  • Training for the local population and midwives on the principles of preventing sexually transmitted diseases and diseases of civilization were regularly organized in rural health centers. Only in 2020. 523 people participated in the training.
  • Local staff regularly cooperated and took part in training courses organized by Polish medics. PMM was represented by midwives, paediatricians, surgeons, anesthesiologists, infectious diseases specialists, as well as a dentist and WASH expert.

DRINKING WATER

During the medical-sanitary analysis conducted by the PMM among women living in rural areas in the Wakema township, 1/3 of the surveyed women reported contaminated river water as a source of drinking water.

  • By the end of 2019. 20 rainwater tanks were built that provide drinking water for at least 12,000 people.
  • As part of the activities undertaken in 2020, another 5 rainwater tanks were built in regions with the greatest problems in access to clean drinking water.

VACCINATION

In 2016, we conducted a medical interview with over 1,200 patients in Wakema Township in the Irrawaddy Delta. The research showed that in the age group of 8-15 years old, only 35% of respondents were vaccinated against hepatitis B. Therefore, an important element of the project was the vaccination program for older school adolescents, but also for families of people infected with hepatitis B.

  • Almost 7,000 people have been vaccinated against hepatitis B, mainly schoolchildren
  • The elements preceding vaccination were tests for the presence of hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV. In 2020. A total of 3,478 people were tested and 2,054 people were vaccinated.
  • Immunoglobulins were purchased from the Wakema hospital and given to newborns of women diagnosed with hepatitis B.

DENTAL CARE

Oral hygiene and dental health are neglected in most health programs in Myanmar. In 2014, there was 1 dentist for every 16,000 people. It is estimated that 40-50% of permanent teeth are left untreated and a significant number of adults suffer from periodontitis.

  • As part of the project, a series of dental training was carried out, the purpose of which was to improve health awareness among children and older schoolchildren for a total of 500 participants. Participants received an educational brochure (in Burmese) and oral hygiene kits.
  • The subject of training conducted by a local dentist included issues related to, among others, tooth brushing techniques, health consequences of untreated cavities, and consequences of betel abuse.
We spoke with Dr. KoKo Lynn, project coordinator in Myanmar, about what we have achieved in the last five years.

On the part of the Polish Medical Mission, the project was coordinated by Ewa Piekarska and Magdalena Komperda.

Project co-financed by the Polish Development Cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland.

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