Health Partnerships between the UK and Myanmar health system have flourished since 2014, and have continued since the military coup.
Since the Coup on 1st February 2021, we have seen a rapid and complex deterioration in Myanmar’s health system, with immense disruption to the general population in accessing care. In addition, health workers are being targeted by the military while attempting to treat those injured during protests. Many of those who manage to reach the injured lack the skills and knowledge to treat gunshot wounds and severe trauma. The United Nations and World Health Organization have reported a significant risk to the COVID-19 response, with reduced testing, lack of public compliance to isolation, and lack of access to clinical care.
The Myanmar Emergency Response Fund (MERF) harnesses the power of Health Partnerships to enable the UK to engage with the crisis in Myanmar, supporting health care professionals to respond to the risks presented by the coup, and the ongoing risks of COVID-19.
Many health care professionals are leaving public and private hospitals and charity clinics due to the intimidation of the military council. Some public hospitals are being occupied, and charity clinics have been raided and closed by security forces. Many hospitals are not functioning well, and the general population are not able to access health services.
To fill this gap, a telemedicine programme has been launched to provide consultations through a timely and innovative approach, enabling the population to receive online consultations and advice from general and specialist doctors.
The early months of the crisis made clear the need for high quality, context-specific clinical resources. The government hospital network has largely ceased to function and medical staff have moved to work in small ‘pop-up’ clinics. These clinics have limited access to specialist support, treatment protocols and no option for onward specialist referral.
This programme will provide vital resources and live support to Myanmar’s nurses, student nurses and other clinicians to help support safe treatment, develop clinical skills and support nurse leaders.
The inability of many doctors to work safely, coupled with a shortage of oxygen, medicine and a properly functioning hospital system, has led to a dire COVID-19 situation in Myanmar.
This project will provide COVID-19 and telemedicine training to GPs, as well as PPE and vitally-needed equipment to support the delivery of safe, effective healthcare, maximising the chances of survival and recovery for patients.
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