Scrubs for Myanmar

Scrubs for Myanmar is a donor or affinity group made up of worldwide healthcare professionals who support EMA.

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“As a physician, I’ve been involved with many mission organizations over the past 20 years. Several organizations ascribe to sustainable development, but I believe what sets EMA apart is not only their passion for working with, serving, and building up the Karen community but truly doing life with them as well. Each group has so much respect and love for the other. As EMA does the hard work of equipping young men and women to become competent medical practitioners treating those that otherwise would never have healthcare, they do so with a humility and respect for those they serve that is truly Christlike. Students grow to become competent practitioners and teachers themselves, while teachers learn from and truly grow because of their students. They become family. The transformation that has happened because of EMA in the Karen communities is absolutely amazing to witness.”

Danny Bramer, M.D. (USA)

“I have worked with Earth Mission Asia since the EMA Physician Assistants Program’s inception and have had the wonderful privilege of being intimately involved in most aspects of the Program. From helping recruit these students, teaching them practical nursing and emergency response skills, to living and working beside them in some of the most difficult and resource-limited conditions in the world. I have seen and experienced first-hand these courageous young PA students literally saving lives and truly impacting their Karen communities in the most positive and encouraging ways. Watching these students grow and develop life-saving critical thinking skills and mature into quite capable medical professionals has been one of my life’s greatest joys and a humbling yet encouraging experience. They inspire me each and every day, and to be just a small part of their story is a great honor.”

Tyler Yoder, RN

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EMA’s Why? and What?

Our analysis of the problem, based on several years of medical practice in remote Karen areas of Eastern Myanmar and a review of the few population-based surveys of those areas, identified two key points. First, a large portion of the morbidity and mortality of the region is caused by relatively simple medical problems. Treatable infectious diseases like pneumonia, diarrhea, and malaria cause many deaths in children. Postpartum hemorrhage, hypertensive disorders, and sepsis cause many maternal deaths. Secondly, there is a considerable shortfall of primary care practitioners who could address these problems. The Karen people need more well-trained healthcare providers who are empowered to work in the remote jungles of Eastern Myanmar and who can competently treat the problems they find there.

A Physician Assistant (PA) is an internationally accepted standard for primary healthcare and could well meet these basic medical needs in Karen areas. However, retaining trained medical professionals in remote areas is a known problem around the world. Some research suggests that recruiting students from remote locations and training them in a remote setting will significantly increase the number of graduates who choose to stay and work after any obligatory payback time.

This kind of remote medical training is also congruent with Myanmar’s Ministry of Health and Sports (MOHS) National Health Plan. So EMA developed a 5-year PA training program designed specifically for students from remote areas to study medicine in a remote setting. Students learn how to deal with common problems in the area with resources they will likely be able to access. While this training program is entirely free for the students, they are required to serve their home areas in a medical capacity for at least 5 years after graduation. The local leaders are included in this commitment process at the time of the student’s acceptance into the program.  

EMA currently recruits 10 to 12 new students per year into the PA program and 2 + engineering tech students. Including a certain percentage of dropouts, EMA hopes to see 75 PAs working in remote areas within 10 years. Depending on KDHW (Karen Department of Health and Welfare) clinic support, these PA’s could potentially treat as many as 150,000 patients/yr. Furthermore, with ongoing professional development efforts post-graduation, based on the Myanmar Ministry of Health 2018 General Practitioner Guidelines, we hope that EMA PAs can meet or surpass standards for Myanmar Ministry of Health providers. Although it will take years, eventually, our goal will be that all patients in the Karen state can have access to quality healthcare within 1 or 2 hours.

Check out the latest articles!

Dr. Mitch Ryan (EMA’s Program Director):                         IMPACT Stories: