Community Health Worker Series: Nang Kham Qyo

9 May 2019

HART is the main donor for SWAN’s Health Programme, which aims to reduce maternal, infant and child mortality rates in rural areas of Shan State, Burma, and amongst displaced populations in Thailand.

SWAN trains health workers and volunteers from inside Shan State, teaching them about reproductive health and family planning. They equip them with the knowledge and materials needed for preventative health education and provision of reproductive and maternal health care.

Read about Nang Kham Qyo’s experiences as an auxiliary midwife below:

A woman in a village was married to a man who was on drugs and beat her. After she became pregnant she decided to divorce him. She wanted to have an abortion, which would have been dangerous for both the mother and the baby given how far along she was, so I gave her counselling to help her cope. She decided to keep the baby, and I delivered a baby boy, who is now five years old.

I was called to a village two hours away in the middle of the night to help a woman in labour. The baby was in the breach position, and I could only see the buttocks. I arranged for the mother and child to be transported to hospital. It was a five-hour journey, and the baby was found to be dead on arrival. However, the doctors at the hospital managed to save the life of the mother.

Nang Kham Qyo, April 2019. All photos have been taken and informed with the consent of those interviewed.

How you can support SWAN Health Workers:

These dedicated, self-sacrificing volunteers act as midwives in remote areas, but have no idea of how to deal with breach births. As a result, many babies – and sometimes even mothers – die in a forlorn attempt to reach a hospital many hours away.

And yet the answer is close at hand. Dr Sasa, our partner from Chin State, spent five years working with a British doctor to create a handbook for Burmese midwives which is more than 95% pictures. It can be used by health workers from any language group, and even by those who are illiterate.

As an immediate, life-saving response, HART aims to buy 1000 copies of this handbook and to transport them to Shan State for use by the Community Health Workers. Each handbook costs $10 or £7.50.

If you feel drawn to support our work financially, this would be one great way to do it.

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