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  • GraceWorks Myanmar

Lifesaving training and resources make a difference for communities in Myanmar

GWM is proud to partner with Health Care Training School (HCTS) in Yangon, where students are taught basic health care and trained to a level where they have the ability and resources to deliver a baby.

In late August, GWM had the pleasure of celebrating the graduation of 21 community health workers from the funded training school in Yangon.

We also launched the Vscan Access Ultrasound machine – a portable ultrasound machine that we believe is the first of its kind in Myanmar.

GWM recently raised funds in Australia to purchase the portable ultrasound machine. The machine is designed by GE Healthcare to specifically meet the needs of poor and remote communities, and was purchased to complement the training carried out at HCTS and expand the resources available for medical clinics.

Allison Swinkels, from Adelaide, is the Manager of GWM’s partnership with HCTS. Allison is a qualified sonographer and will be conducting medical field trips to visit pregnant mothers within Myanmar.

Allison said, “with the death rate of women in Myanmar relating to pregnancy and childbirth being the second highest in ASEAN, this portable machine will provide a lifesaving resource for under resourced communities”.

The ultrasound machine will be used during the medical field trips carried out by Allison. It will also complement the maternal health care training in the school and be used for training community health workers – all of which Allison will oversee. A unique and holistic feature of the Vscan Access is the inclusion of teaching videos for pregnant women that can be played in Burmese. The ultimate goal is to now equip every GWM community development education (CDE) initiative in Myanmar with a health care worker to have a Vscan Access ultrasound machine.

On Saturday 9 September, a promotional maternity health clinic was held on Seikkyi Island, where pregnant women were given the opportunity to have an ultrasound for the first time, using the Vscan Access machine. Most of these women do not have the financial means to travel across the river for healthcare in downtown Yangon. This results in them not having access to an ultrasound throughout their pregnancy and limited knowledge about any problems that may exist or that could be prevented or treated.

Three newly graduated community healthcare workers returned to Yangon especially to help Allison for this promotional clinic. The healthcare workers had an opportunity to try their hand at scanning – a skill that will be taught by Allison in future training of remote and rural based graduates.

GWM’s maternity health clinics will soon be held monthly on Seikkyi Island and will offer free ultrasound scans to pregnant women. These scans will be performed by Allison, with the opportunity for community healthcare students to participate.


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