The Karen are a people group concentrated along the Thai-Myanmar border. As a whole, they are well acquainted with the hard side of life. Although deeply community oriented, one of the world’s longest civil wars has forced many to flee their homes to distant countries. Even as peace in Myanmar struggles forward, many of those Karen who stayed still struggle to scratch out a living as farmers. In mountain and jungle areas, little is left over for education or healthcare. Earth Mission Asia’s programs are focused on developing a sustainable training program for indigenous healthcare teams to serve these marginalized areas. According to Earth Mission principles, we are working at several levels to ensure solutions are efficient, culturally sensitive, practical and permanent.
EARTH MISSION ASIA
Some of the health statistics coming out of the remote Karen areas reveal a staggering amount of suffering…suffering that relatively simple healthcare done well could significantly change. Our team of doctors, nurses and medics have gained years of experience operating in these environments. We also have a passion for teaching. Combined with the genuine concern of many young Karen people to help their own people, we believe our teams can make a difference for many.
MATERNAL MORTALITY RATIO (MMR)
The maternal mortality ratio (MMR) is the ratio of the number of maternal deaths during a given time period per 100,000 live births during the same time-period. The MMR is used as a measure of the quality of a health care system. The following statistics were taken from World Health Organization (WHO) reports.
Solutions to healthcare problems will vary according to both the nature of the needs of the area and the resources available. A few Karen, young people have been accepted into established health professions programs. Some want to become doctors or nurses, in hopes of one day returning to their homes as healthcare professionals. Our scholarship program is supporting a few of these. Many, many more, however, simply do not have access to these kinds of educational opportunities. For these, we are developing a clinical training curriculum that is specifically geared to the needs and resources found in villages. The clinical training program aims to empower students, whose educational backgrounds are incomplete, to reach the functional equivalent of a Nurse Practitioner/ Physician Assistant, over the course of five years. Other educational programs, needed for healthcare support, are in development (i.e. engineering technology, etc.).
PHYSICIAN ASSISTANT TRAINING PROGRAM
Thailand / Myanmar
The medical training part of the program is aiming for the functional equivalent of a Nurse Practitioner/ Physician Assistant and is designed specifically for practice in a remote environment. The five year medical training program will include a fully equipped training clinic and hospital. This program was started in August 2015.
HEALTHCARE IN MYANMAR
Ther Ray-Dau Pae (T-RAD) Clinic
Earth Mission Asia focuses our talents and resources on improving the health of people living in remote Karen villages. To maximize effectiveness to areas that have very poor access to any kind of curative medicine, we believe we must train students in both preventive medicine AND in basic primary care. Each gives credibility to the other. Our program, like Medical Education systems all over the world, includes experienced, medical mentors who guide students through the challenges of providing care for real patients with real problems. Of course, that implies a need to have well-run, well-stocked, well-staffed clinics and hospitals. Our goal is that all of our clinics serve this dual purpose: providing quality healthcare to patients and also teaching students quality healthcare, by example.
ENGINEERING TECHNOLOGY TRAINING PROGRAM
Thailand / Myanmar
Our two-year program focuses on practical application of simple engineering principles, including: electricity and alternative energy power sources, drafting and CAD, small engine repair, construction techniques, and technical communication.
Working with established organizations who provide scholarships for students in these kinds of situations, Earth Mission Asia hopes to help a selected few of the brightest to realize their dream of providing healthcare to their people in remote areas. This involves meeting, encouraging. funding and monitoring students as they complete their schooling. It also means holding them accountable to return for service. Currently, Earth Mission Asia supports several Karen nursing students studying in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, Thailand. Finally, it will be important to supplement their medical curriculum with an education about tropical problems that are rarely seen in western countries, but are very common in Southeast Asia.