Community Health Worker Series: Nang Shwe Hean

3 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 Nang Shwe Hearn’s account of the first birth she experienced as an auxillary midwife, as told in her own words below:

I finished my training in 2007 and I was excited to go back to my village. A lady expecting her first child had gone into labour. I was worried about all the potential complications and that I would be blamed. Their family had only four people, with just enough blankets for themselves. It was very cold, and I had to manage the labour myself, but I didn’t close my eyes even for a minute. At 4am, the baby was delivered. I was so happy to hold her. That was the day I got respect from my village, it was a breakthrough in my own journey.

All photos taken in our SWAN Community Health Worker Series 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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