Empowering local care teams in Northern Myanmar
Since 2018, the third NNHF project in Myanmar has been showing the immense power of collaboration and the project team continued to strengthen haemophilia care throughout 2019.
A shortage of healthcare professionals
Back in 2017, Dr Moe Hein was the only haematologist serving the entire northern region of Myanmar.
The severe shortage of doctors specialising in this area even led Dr Moe Hein to move his home to Mandalay General Hospital to be able to more promptly serve people with haemophilia requiring urgent care.
Raising awareness, inspiring vocations
In 2018, the NNHF and a local journalist delivered a strategic media engagement workshop for 14 participants including people with haemophilia, their families and healthcare professionals.
The training resulted in several activities organised in 2019, involving doctors and people with haemophilia engaging with the media to raise awareness.
An attendee to one of the awareness raising sessions was a paediatrician from Nay Pyi Taw, who felt truly inspired to contribute to improving haemophilia care.
Following this meeting, the paediatrician joined the capacity building effort and was able to receive in-depth training at the Royal Free Hospital and Evelina London Children’s Hospital in the UK, gaining the required expertise to strengthen care in Northern Myanmar.
Training physiotherapists, paediatricians and nurses
In Myanmar, like in many countries, nurses play a key role in haemophilia care. They are the first point of contact for a person with haemophilia and need to be able to identify symptoms, provide psycho-social advice and deal with a bleed.
Following training with nurse practitioner Jennifer Maahs from the Indiana Haemophilia and Thrombosis Centre (US) in 2018, in 2019 the team organised a follow-up visit of nurse Khine Swe Swe Oo from Yangon Children Hospital to Mandalay General Hospital. The aim of the visit was for her to assess the needs and evaluate difficulties encountered by the team in Mandalay since the training session.
Furthermore, two physiotherapists from Mandalay General Hospital attended in-depth training at Great Ormond Street Hospital and Royal Free Hospital in the UK. The objective was to acquire specialist skills to provide care to people with haemophilia.
Aside from strengthening the capacity of the haemophilia care team, healthcare professionals and the patient organisation worked together throughout the project to improve diagnosis rates. Thanks to these collaborative efforts they were able to identify more people living with haemophilia and introduced new practices such as bleeding record diaries.
A significant achievement for the Myanmar Haemophilia Patient Association was that its Mandalay chapter received approval for legal registration.
Empowerment brings sustainable impact
The third NNHF project in Myanmar introduced initiatives intended to last, through knowledge-sharing and empowerment of people to lead change. “In 2019, through this project we managed to establish a group of nurses, physiotherapists and paediatricians dedicated to people with haemophilia in northern Myanmar, where previously there was only myself,” Dr Moe Hein concluded. “With even more healthcare professionals interested in being involved, progress is well and truly underway with real hope for the future.”