There are two core aspects to GraceWorks Myanmar's (GWM) work in community-based health development. The first is through health training and the second is through water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) initiatives.
Our primary focus for health training is conducted through our partner, Health Care Training School, where students spend six months learning basic health care practices.
We also have a mobile outreach that conducts maternal health care with pregnant mothers, including ultrasounds and instructions on how to care for a mother’s welfare during pregnancy. Myanmar has the highest rate of mortality among mothers and babies in Asia.
Village seminars include training on food preparation, hygiene and safe housekeeping.
We also engage with a dental group that provides free dental care to poor communities, conducting clinics in CDE villages.
GWM has built a medical clinic in a very poor community on an island close to Yangon, servicing a population of approximately 10,000 people who previously had little access to medical care. The Australia Embassy in Yangon provided funding through the 'Direct Assistance Program' (DAP) to enable the clinic to be built.
Finally, GWM conducts mobile medical clinics in children’s homes and rural locations, reaching families and children, some of whom have never received a medical check-up. Patients are given health checks and are often referred to appropriate specialists. Those requiring surgery, when possible, are supported by GWM-provided medical funding. Supported by local medical teams and visiting overseas doctors, the challenge to reach the marginalised and chronically poor communities remains a focus of our health initiatives.
A strong need for safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene awareness has resulted in WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) becoming an integral component in our community development education (CDE) program. WASH training and activities are facilitated by our WASH partner, the Canadian-based Centre for Affordable Water and Sanitation Techniques (CAWST).
WASH has been introduced and implemented in the majority of our CDE program communities in Northern Rakhine, as well as in communities across the river from Yangon. WASH covers two aspects of delivery: software, which is education covering hygiene and sanitation, and hardware, which provides equipment such as bio-sand filters, pumps and wells. The bio-sand filters, which provide clean drinking water to communities, are manufactured locally and maintained through the use of a smartphone app created by CAWST.