In Myanmar, IRC Restores Health and Water Services in Cyclone-Battered Villages
Magyi Bin village in Ngapudaw Township was hit hard. The storm ripped through the village, leaving many buildings in tatters, including the station hospital which provides more than 20,000 people with essential medical services.
“The hospital’s ceiling was completely blown off, its walls, beds and equipment were severely damaged, and its small stock of medicine was mostly wiped out,” says Giorgio Faedo, the IRC’s Field Coordinator in Myanmar. “The crumbling facility is barely able to care for the 50 or more inpatients it receives at any given time.”
IRC teams have started work repairing the structural damage to the building and improving the hospital’s ability to address the needs of the community. IRC contractors and volunteers are delivering cement, ceiling tiles and tin roofing and supplying the hospital with medicines, surgical equipment and other materials.
In the coming weeks, the IRC hopes will begin training midwives, operating small boats to provide ambulance services to villagers along the waterways, and work with the Ministry of Health to launch an immunization campaign and improve maternal and infant health care.
Meanwhile, in order to prevent the spread of disease, IRC aid workers are educating communities about safe health and hygiene practices.
“We are helping people understand what causes some of their health problems,” says So Pyay Win, an IRC hygiene promoter. “Our messages concentrate on hand-washing with soap, drinking and cooking with safe water, using latrines and mosquito nets and education about common diseases. At the same time, we have also been distributing hygiene supplies, like soap, jerry cans and water purification tablets.”
A project to build more than 300 latrines, as well as sanitation facilities and washrooms at schools and health centers is well underway.
The IRC is also working to improve and safeguard the water supply in Ngapudaw Township. Teams are treating water in seven rainwater collection ponds, fencing them in, linking them to public tap stands, and training community workers to maintain them.
“The villagers rely almost exclusively on rain water for drinking, bathing and domestic use,” says Bob Brox, the IRC environmental health coordinator. “To capture rain water for use in the dry season, communities built rainwater collection ponds generations ago. Our project focuses on improving the quality of the water so that it is safe to drink and keeping it clean by building fences around the ponds that block animals from coming in and contaminating the water.”
In total, IRC health services in the Ngapudaw area are benefiting some 45,000 people.Learn More
IRC Special Report: Myanmar Disaster