Health vol­un­teers de­ployed to re­mote Naga area

The Myanmar Times - - News - My­in­tkaythi@mm­times.com MYINT KAY THI

FOL­LOW­ING a deadly dis­ease out­break that has taken the lives of dozens of chil­dren in a re­mote area of Sa­gaing Re­gion, the health min­istry has de­ployed ba­sic med­i­cal staff to the un­der­served com­mu­nity.

The Min­istry of Health ap­pointed 56 ba­sic health staff, in­clud­ing 27 mid­wives, to fill the void of health ser­vices in the Naga Self-Ad­min­is­tered Zone, ac­cord­ing to U Thein Zaw, deputy di­rec­tor of the Gen­eral Ad­min­is­tra­tion Of­fice.

He said that six health staff will work in Leshi town­ship, nine in Nanyun and 41 in Lahe. The health staff, who vol­un­teered for six-month ro­ta­tions, were culled from among gov­ern­ment health staff work­ing in other states in re­gions.

Ac­cord­ing to the Depart­ment of Pub­lic Health, the health staff were as­signed start­ing on Septem­ber 4.

Pre­vi­ously there were no gov­ern­ment health work­ers, and no for­mal health clin­ics in the self-ad­min­is­tered zone. Un­til ru­ral health clin­ics can be es­tab­lish, the med­i­cal pro­fes­sion­als have been ad­vised to of­fer home-based treat­ment.

“As most health staff do not want to come to this re­gion, we ac­cepted vol­un­teers for six months at a time,” said U Thein Zaw.

The Naga Self-Ad­min­is­tered Zone is still reel­ing from a deadly measles out­break that was first re­ported in June. The in­fec­tion went un­di­ag­nosed, and largely un­treated, for nearly two months. The Depart­ment of Pub­lic Health an­nounced in Au­gust that blood tests con­firmed the out­break as at­trib­ut­able to measles, a vi­ral, vac­cine-pre­ventable dis­ease.

Measles vac­ci­na­tion is in­cluded in the rou­tine na­tional pro­gram, but Lahe and Nanyun town­ships were not cov­ered.

“The measles out­break sit­u­a­tion in Lahe town­ship is sta­ble but com­mon health prob­lems still re­main,” said U Thein Zaw.

Health work­ers be­lieve one of the rea­sons that the in­fec­tion spread so quickly and was so deadly among chil­dren in the Naga zone was an un­der­ly­ing is­sue of chronic mal­nour­ish­ment.

By the pub­lic health depart­ment’s count, 56 peo­ple in Lahe town­ship and an­other 40 in Nanyun town­ship died in the dis­ease out­break be­tween June to Au­gust.

The 56 health staff have been tasked with pro­vid­ing health and san­i­ta­tion aware­ness, bring­ing chil­dren up to date on vac­ci­na­tions, con­trol­ling malaria and TB, and ad­dress­ing the nu­tri­tion prob­lems, ac­cord­ing to Dr Than Htun Aung, deputy di­rec­tor gen­eral of the Depart­ment of Pub­lic Health.

Ac­cord­ing to state me­dia, the Sag­ing Re­gion gov­ern­ment do­nated K1.14 mil­lion and the Depart­ment of Pub­lic Health pro­vided K7.8 mil­lion to im­prove health ser­vices in the Naga SelfAd­min­is­tered Zone.

Photo: EPA

A Naga child suf­fer­ing from measles is treated by a doc­tor dur­ing a check-up at Htan Khaw Lar Mar vil­lage, Lahe town­ship, on Au­gust 9.

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