In September 2013, thousands of health workers and volunteers came together to protect the health of 36 million people in the country of Myanmar. And they did it in just one week. These dedicated men and women traveled through remote villages to help end the burden of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs).
NTDs like lymphatic filariasis (LF) and intestinal worms have a crippling affect on the people of Myanmar, one of the poorest countries in Asia. A staggering 80 percent of the population is at risk for these parasitic and bacterial infections which can cause pain and disability.
But with the support of END7 and the World Health Organization (WHO), the Myanmar Ministry of Health delivered the medicine needed to protect millions of people in 36 districts.
Volunteer filmmakers Join the Lights came with us to Myanmar where we met seven-year-old Pwint Yamone Thin. In many ways, Pwint Yamone Thin is your average seven-year-old girl – full of smiles and giggles. But like millions of other children in the country, intestinal worms have the potential to sap her contagious energy, delay her physical and intellectual growth, and leave her malnourished and weak. But thanks to Myanmar’s campaign, her body will be free of NTDs for an entire year.
Myanmar’s campaign required careful coordination beginning with the national government and ending with local communities.
- The donated medicines arrived in country and were transported to more than 200 townships across Myanmar.
- More than 4,000 health workers and 90,000 volunteers were trained on how to distribute these medicines used to protect people from NTDs. Trainings took place in hospitals, and even in monasteries.
- The health workers carried out the large scale mass drug administration (MDA) by traveling door to door and visiting schools and community centers.
- Volunteers and health workers spent time talking to people about the importance of these medicines and the impact of NTDs.
And the future looks promising. Plans for a 2014 campaign are already underway and Myanmar’s government plans to continue treatment until NTDs are controlled and eliminated in all districts. However, lack of available resources to implement the program and the need for greater public awareness on NTD treatment and control are the biggest challenges now.
Will you help raise the awareness needed by sharing our video today? We can create a brighter future for millions of children in Myanmar.