“I am Dr Nant Htet Htet Lynn Oo. I was born in the Delta Region of Myanmar and grew up in Yangon. I am Poe Karen, however, I always get a chance to work with the Sakaw Karen community. I graduated with an M.B.B.S. degree from the Institute of Medicine (1), Yangon, in April 2008. I got a Master in Public Health (M.P.H.) from Mahidol University, Bangkok, in June 2015. Since then, I have devoted myself to work for the Karen community on the Thai-Myanmar border (Refugees Camps). As I am Karen, I am honored and pleased to work for the Karen people.
I started to work with EMA in July 2019 with the recommendation of Dr. Phyo, who is a very close friend of mine. We met in Thailand while working together in an International N.G.O. for Karen people in Refugee Camps. According to her, EMA is supporting and helping Karen people in remote hilly regions and Ler Doh Township. The main goal is to produce young Karen health professionals and empower them to support their local community. I was very motivated and interested in working with EMA as the nature of work is very similar to my previous experiences and encounters.
Moreover, I hope to support the Karen people with my ultimate knowledge, skill, and experiences. In 2019, at the T-RAD clinic,I was assigned to provide medical services and conduct training for Physician Assistants. In June 2020, the proposed project (Advanced Community Empowerment – ACE project) funded by PACT Myanmar and USAID began in Ler Doh and KDHW areas. Therefore, my responsibilities expanded, which included project activities like coordination meetings with Village Tract Health Centers (VTHC), Continuing Medical Education (CME) to VTHCs’ clinic staffs, and organizing refresher trainings for T-RAD and Tornor Teaching Hospital (KEHOCs) clinic staffs.
I think EMA is crucial for the Karen community. There are many reasons. The most fundamental fact is that EMA empowers the local Karen youth to provide high-quality healthcare in the remote hilly regions. The local people serving the local community is the best way of community mobilization and empowerment to achieve sustainable development. EMA gave birth to the T-RAD and RTC clinics, which allows the Karen people in remote areas to access healthcare services regardless of socioeconomic status, religion, and geographic location. If T-RAD and RTC clinics are not functioning during recent political circumstances and instabilities (military coup in Myanmar), there will be many difficulties for the Karen people to access quality health services because of the break down of health care system and transportation difficulties and restrictions. Even in difficult situations, medical supplies to the clinics are still ongoing.
Physician Assistants (Karen Youth) are the health professionals trained by EMA. They are fully equipped with medical knowledge during the 5-year intensive Physician Assistant Program. This training is a rare opportunity for Karen Youth to be trained by health professionals from Myanmar and health professionals from foreign countries. They are the key persons who play pivotal roles in the well-functioning of the RTC clinic in the remote hilly region. As long as the Physician Assistant Program is ongoing and the RTC clinic is functioning, there is still a chance of delivering health services to the Karen community even if political circumstances and the health care system worsen.
For my best experience with EMA, I would like to share our staff’s condition and feelings during the mlitary coup. It is a challenging time for all Myanmar people. We do not know what will happen next, and the future is unpromising and unpredictable. We are living with insecurities. However, EMA tried to support us in many ways. EMA found ways to allocate the money to continue to provide salaries for every staff member.
In contrast, other organizations face a shortage of funding and the inability to provide staff salaries. Not only financial support but also food and shelter are provided to back up the current political situation. I am very touched and impressed how EMA embraces T-RAD staff with their help, psychological support, and financial assistance during this difficult time.
Before working with EMA, I always wanted to work in well-known International NGO’s like UNICEF or the UN. I felt that I would be more productive, competent, and well experienced if I work with outstanding organizations. However, after working with EMA, I understand that the essence of a job is job satisfaction and motivation. Here, I am motivated every day due to a healthy working environment and atmosphere. Our leaders are kind and supportive. Co-workers and subordinates are hardworking and coordinated. The teamwork is very promising. Medical supplies and equipment are sufficient. Day-to-day experiences with patients and training give me excitement too. On top of that, everybody has the same mindset: to help and support Karen people equally regardless of their socioeconomic status, background, and religion. No matter what, we would like to help them. I think this is the key to happiness while working with EMA.” – Dr. Nant Htet, T-RAD Staff Physician