Creating Change

Creating Change

Creating Change

Our clinic in Kyaukkyi Myanmar is located just next to a large Baptist church run by the Hsaw Htit Baptist Association. In fact, the land and the clinical buildings belong to the Baptists. Graciously, they are allowing us free use of the facilities for at least the next 10 years. Besides their tradition of spiritual ministry, they are also working to improve the physical lives of communities in the surrounding areas.

They regularly provide community health teaching to 7 villages in the area. A few days ago, they asked us to provide a basic health teaching to some of the leaders from these villages. About 30 Karen men and women arrived for the 3-day conference. Because I didn’t know the level of education of the group, I asked them a few questions during the introductions. Most of their villages had been relocated during the years of fighting. Many still do not have toilets. None of them had access to a clinic or to basic medicines in the village. Most had to travel 1 to 2 hours to get basic medical care.

I proceeded to teach them the basics about Diarrhea and Pneumonia. These are the top 2 killers of children around the world, including Karen state in eastern Myanmar. A little knowledge here goes a long way.

Good hand washing, use of a toilet and some simple advice on hygiene can prevent many of the cases of diarrhea. Most of the deaths in diarrhea are due to dehydration and usually that is relatively easy to treat, if started early. Correct any dehydration with ORS (oral rehydration solution) and keep the patient drinking as much as they lose.  Homemade ORS is also easy to make. To one liter of boiled water add 2 handfuls of rice, 2 pinches of salt and boil for 2 minutes. For more persistent diarrhea, nutrition becomes an issue and diarrhea with blood needs to be referred.

For pneumonia, the key is recognizing and treating it early. Besides the obvious cough and fever, for non technical people this usually means also being aware of the breathing rate.  Similarly, any of the signs of respiratory distress means the patient needs emergency referral.

This short community health training, again reminded me of how much basic help is needed in the remote areas here. Our hope is that the Earth Mission Asia’s 5 year Physician Assistant training program will begin to put knowledgeable healthcare providers in these remote communities.  And that our graduates will make a significant impact on the health of the Karen people.

 

 

 

 

 


Dr. Mitch has run several medical programs in remote places. Enjoy’s exploring new worlds with enthusiastic experts in their fields…anything in medicine, science, history, art, music, engineering, philosophy, multimedia, IT. He has recently conceded that he’s not likely going to get to go to the moon in his lifetime. But Antarctica is still on the list.

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