The International Rescue Committee (IRC), together with the European Union (EU) has implemented health and protection programming in Myanmar, aimed at supporting the well-being of crisis-affected communities. With funding from the EU, the program is addressing the most urgent needs of children, women, and men in conflict-affected areas of Myanmar. The EU is supporting the program with a total contribution of 635,000 euros.

Political instability, conflict, extreme poverty, and natural disasters have left the country in a state of crisis: it is estimated that 14.4 million people will need humanitarian assistance in 2022 ­– amounting to roughly 26% of the country’s population. Against the backdrop of a highly under-resourced health sector, the COVID-19 pandemic and the effects of the February 2021 military coup have only exacerbated the situation, with numerous communities lacking access to basic health services due to conflict, movement restrictions, and limited financial resources.

The IRC began work in Myanmar in 2008, providing humanitarian relief in response to Cyclone Nargis. Since then, the IRC has expanded its work to support communities affected by conflict and disaster, and provides services directly and in partnership with local organizations and ethnic service providers. 

IRC is one of the largest and most experienced health providers in Myanmar, directly providing services to conflict affected and displaced people through mobile teams in Northern Shan, Kachin and Rakhine, as well as providing training and technical support to partners to deliver a comprehensive range of health services. The IRC also provides specialised services targeting groups with specific needs, including women and girls and people with disabilities.

With the help of the EU, under this program a total of 110,644 individuals have been reached, of which 56,182 are women and 33,175 are children. Together with local partners, the International Rescue Committee has provided health clinics with medical supplies and technical equipment, as well as ensuring health education awareness training for community health workers. Along with this, a variety of healthcare supplies, including hygiene kits, were delivered to partners, with supporting services through mobile health clinics and tele-consultations.

Alan Moseley, the Country Director of IRC Myanmar, said: 

“Myanmar is facing an escalating crisis, which has left many populations isolated and vulnerable. Families have been left with no other choice but to flee their homes in search of safety. Amidst this crisis, the IRC has acted quickly to provide an emergency response, to meet the most urgent humanitarian needs among those affected by conflict. This has only been made possible through funding from the European Union, as well as cooperation with our partner organisations working tirelessly on the front lines. It is crucial to continue supporting this response to the urgent and growing humanitarian needs in Myanmar.