The Karen people have experienced oppression for over sixty years with little to no access to healthcare and services. Due to this lack of access to healthcare, 721 women die per 100,000 live births.
IDEAS partners with Earth Mission Asia (EMA) to provide a Physician Assistant training program in Myanmar that develops Physician Assistants among the local Karen people so that they can provide healthcare within their remote villages. This past year Rain Tree Clinic was established on the edge of Karen state in Myanmar to provide healthcare for the Karen people and training for local students in the program.
One of the Physician Assistant students, Zu Zae Nar, who is an intern at Rain Tree Clinic, recently participated in a delivery and shares her experience:
“Naw Khu, a 36-year-old female, lives about 30 minutes away from Rain Tree Clinic, so when she started having contractions, two people from her village came to the clinic so we could assist her at home. Two other Physician Assistant students and I went to the village. We were very excited because this was only the second time we were helping to deliver a baby. On our way to the village we kept discussing the procedure and what we would do. As we arrived, I examined the patient and felt a mild contraction, so I checked her cervix. We waited for a couple of hours and the mother started pushing the baby out.
One villager had some medical training, so she helped me in the process. A beautiful baby boy was born. His parents were very happy because they previously had three kids, all girls, and they wanted a boy this time. I took the baby and wrapped him in a new blanket and put him in his mommy’s arms. The medical trainee from the village cut the umbilical cord, and we all waited for one hour after the delivery to monitor the mother and baby’s condition. Gladly, everything was fine, so we returned to our clinic. I felt we helped the baby to see his family and all the beautiful things in this world. I can’t even explain how happy I was that day; it was the best experience ever for me!”
EMA focuses on developing a sustainable training program for indigenous healthcare teams to serve in remote Karen villages in Myanmar.
The Karen are a people group concentrated along the Thai-Myanmar border. 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. We are grateful for our ongoing partnership with EMA and for the way they are restoring hope and health in Myanmar.
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About the Author: Zu Zae Nar is a Year 4 Physician Assistant student currently interning at the Rain Tree clinic in remote Karen State, Myanmar. Growing up in a 300-household village with only one medic and basic medicine, Zu Zae Nar has seen the healthcare needs of her people. She dreams of becoming a nurse so that she can provide high quality healthcare in Karen language with respect to her culture and traditions. Click here to read more about how hope is being restored in Myanmar.