Nan Su Kyaw* lives in a village of 70 households in Myanmar’s northernmost state of Kachin. For the past six years she has played a vital role as a community health worker in the village – a role that has brought huge benefits.
‘My role involves educating others about health, especially how to prevent and treat malaria and diarrhoea,’ shares Nan Su Kyaw. ‘I give health awareness talks after church for my whole village at least two times every month.’
Building a healthcare system
After decades of military rule, Myanmar is having to address a legacy of pain and poverty. Its healthcare system has consistently been ranked among the lowest in the world.
The new government is committed to improving healthcare, and life expectancy has increased. However, substantial rural poverty, the risk of natural disasters and conflict still plague certain areas, meaning there is still much to be done.
Additional resources like community health workers are vital to meeting the healthcare needs of Myanmar, especially in very rural and remote areas like Nan Su Kyaw’s village. She helps government health clinic staff when they visit the village to give vaccinations. In addition, she supports healthcare groups in the village. These are groups of about 10 households that meet regularly to share information, create awareness and support healthy practices in the community.
The gift of knowledge
A mother of three, Nan Su Kyaw was trained by Tearfund partner World Concern and continues to receive regular refresher sessions from them.
‘Over the years, I have benefited from a lot of training. Now that my children are older, I can really put this to use and give more of my time to health awareness work,’ she explains.
The local pastor is very positive about the work she is doing, noting that people are healthier now and can work harder and also come to church more regularly.
‘I feel very happy to see lots of improvements in health in my village,’ says Nan Su Kyaw. ‘I feel really privileged to be part of this. The technical knowledge that I have received is like an inheritance for the village – it is very valuable and something that I can pass on to future generations.’
* Name changed to protect identity
Give thanks for the community health workers who have been trained to bring health education to the villages of Myanmar and pray that many more can be raised up.
Pray for government officials in Myanmar as they seek to provide healthcare for the people, pray for wisdom and good working relations with organisations like Tearfund and World Concern.
Pray for Nan Su Kyaw, her family and her village, that they will reap the benefits of better health now and in future generations.
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