- A Drop of Milk: Enhancing Maternal and Infant Health in Myanmar -
Thanks to the support and partnership of the Rotary in Yangon, Myanmar and Seattle, USA, we have launched A Drop of Milk, a midwives training program to enhance prenatal and antenatal maternal and child healthcare in Myanmar.
In the midst of Myanmar’s rapid economic and social development, there still remains a great need for improvements in the healthcare sector.
Compared to the United States, where the maternal mortality rate is 18.5 deaths for every 100,000 women giving birth, the maternal mortality rates in Myanmar are alarmingly high, with 200/100,000 births ending in a death.
Infant mortality is also tragically high, with 26 deaths for every 1,000 live births, whilst the in the United Kingdom the rate is 4.2 deaths per 1,000 live births.
In early 2016, Tag, Dr Michal Dishi Galitzky, an obstetrician and gynecologist, conducted an assessment on the ground in southern Shan State in Myanmar to identify the key gaps in maternal and child healthcare. 4 key gaps in delivery of healthcare services were identified:
- Poor hygiene practices in both community health delivery and especially during emergency obstetric surgeries
- Lack of early detection of leading causes of pregnancy complications such as hypertension and gestational diabetes which is exacerbated by the lack of referral and history managements systems
- Poor antenatal care due a lack of monitoring and tracking during pregnancy and lack of essential equipment such as basic fetal heart rate monitors.
- No awareness about cognitive and physical development of babies and small children for health workers and families, leading to serious issues being overlooked.
The project’s overarching goal is to improve the health outcomes of mothers and children in the Southern Shan State through:
- Strengthening capacities of maternal and child healthcare leaders and providers to deliver quality community-based health services through training and upgrading facilities
- Educating midwives and community-based health providers on how to identify developmental delays in children under 5 years of age through seminars and the utilization of specially designed kits
- Strengthening village to hospital referral systems through improved patient history management and recordings by utilizing m-health technology.
While the issue of nutrition has been receiving a lot of focus and attention by other NGOs in the country, currently no other NGO is integrating holistic community health training that includes attention to child development delays.