My last trip around the Region before going back to London. I have to admit I am counting down the days and spoiling my eyes with people and emotions. Well, let’s try to get not too emotional now…. Hop Hop!!!
Myanmar, well, what was I going to say? Oh yes, I just came back from Lashio in the north east side of the country where GSK and CARE Myanmar have been implementing a project to improve maternal and children care in really remote areas.
This part of the country is quite known for their ethnics groups such as Palaung, Wa, Chinese , Shan and Kochin people. What is so unique about them? They all speak their own language and ,for a country like Burma predominately Buddhist, some of them are Christians and they all live in really remote areas. I don’t want to describe my surprise in front a Christmas Tree and Carols when I entered my hotel in Lashio at my first day!
I really enjoyed my field visit in this part of the country, including long hours drive through the jungle. At each village, the entire community was waiting for us and greeting us with a traditional dance where I had to participate.
CARE and GSK are working on really remote areas, building learning and health centers, bringing water and sanitation and on top of everything training auxiliary midwives. Those women are on a mission to really give access to health services to their communities and bring a huge difference in villagers life.
Let me share with you one of their stories!
Karen is 39 years old and lives in Ookuree village that is six miles away from Demosoe town of Kayah State. Since she was a little girl, she wanted to become a midwife. Her villagers cannot do birth spacing due to religious barriers and many children were delivered without any support or care. After passing her matrix exam, she applied to Ministry of Health to become a midwife but then universities got closed for unstable political situation and she went back to her village. She is married now and has six children. She takes care of her family and her farm with her husband. Her dream to become a midwife was put aside.
In 2013, her village became part of CARE Myanmar Maternal and Child Health (MCH) project and villagers promoted her as a leader of Mother group (MG) and encourage her to attend VHV training to build her capacity. At that time, she did not expect to become an Auxiliary Mid Wife (AMW) as she thought that she was too old to become one. However, she heard that CARE prefers highly committed, educated, middle age women and the village midwife recommended her to attend basic six month Auxiliary Midwife training.
Her husband encouraged her to attend the training while he was going to take care of their children and the house. She was really worried about leaving her family for such a long time, but surprisingly, when she came back home after one month, her children were living happily and didn’t cry for missing mother. She was really impressed by her husband attitude and she feels supported to accomplish her auxiliary midwife’s task day and night without worry for her family.
Her husband supports and accompanies her when she was called on midnight for delivery and takes all responsibility of housework while she is attending refresher training and other health training.
She’s got second highest score at the end of the six months training for Auxiliary Midwives:
“Thank you so much to CARE because I realized that CARE supported all things and cost too much to train an AMW. So, I decided to be a skilful AMW for my village and tried the best”.
Since she started, she showed a full committed and volunteer spirit: she accompanies patients to hospital, wondering around village with motorcycle to organize for immunization and so on without receiving cost for these activities and she was also able to a mother with uterine rupture in time.
At the end her same village and the ones around it start to trust her more and more and call her for every delivery: “Now, we do not need to worry for emergency at night time. She is capable to support and help all of us”.
The villagers rate her commitment so highly that they help her to cultivate and harvest the farm without asking for money. She is not paid for her role as an auxiliary midwife but she is pleased by people and patients who are now able to seek and receive help. Also the government health staff appreciates her help and supports her to receive further training.
“CARE promoted and lit me up as an Auxiliary Midwife, and then I could light to my people through these skills. So, thank you so much for CARE and our Donor GSK and now my dream come true” she said.
See you soon!!