Health Program

Photo Credit Saw Mort

KWO’s Health Program: KWO provides assistance where it recognizes gaps in existing healthcare services in the camps and IDP areas. Karen women in IDP areas have little to no access to healthcare, and the maternal and infant mortality rate there is one of the highest in the world today. KWO collaborates with community-based health agencies to support local health workers and gives material assistance to new mothers in those areas, by providing them with Baby Kits. We support traditional birth attendants in some of the refugee camps to assist women with safe home births. KWO advocates on a variety of issues surrounding women’s, maternal, and child health with health agencies working both in IDP areas and in the camps. KWO raises awareness about a range of health issues for the better health of the whole community.

This is one of our smaller programs, but also a vital one for our community. We focus on providing personal hygiene care, household sanitation, nutritional awareness, and environmental management of rivers, streams and surrounding. We encourage parents to grow vegetables to provide healthy, nutritious food to their children to promote strong minds and bodies.

The health program supported 11,295 beneficiaries in 2018 and 22,631 beneficiaries in 2019. Under the health program, KWO focuses more on awareness. As advocates for better health policies, we encourage communities to care for themselves and the environment around them.

KWO helps to fill gaps where there is a lack of support and access to healthcare
services in the camps and in Karen State. Women in Karen State have limited access to healthcare, and the maternal and infant mortality rate is one of the highest in the world today. KWO collaborates with community-based health agencies to support local health workers and provides material assistance to new mothers. KWO also advocates on a variety of issues surrounding women’s maternal and child health awareness, with health agencies working both in Karen State as well as in the camps for the betterment of the whole community.

Through community organizing events, KWO provides a space to inform and educate where health misconceptions may have contributed to an incorrect narrative and confusion. To set a positive example for the community, we encourage everyone to keep shared spaces clean by picking up garbage that is found in the streets and rivers.

KWO also runs health, developmental and sexual reproductive health education workshops with young women at the camp and central levels. Health education is done at various levels of the community through school and dormitory visits, as well as informal home trips with family members. KWO’s presence shows our commitment to addressing concerns on a collective and individual basis.

The one-on-one time spent with families combines health education with more general social care and can be prompted by a concern raised by an individual in the community, such as regularly seeing a child play in dirty areas. For pregnant women, especially first-time expecting mothers, KWO monitors their health status and provides material assistance if required.

KWO also extends itself to patients who request accompaniment to medical care at
hospitals, picking up prescriptions and covering the costs of outstanding medical fees. For those who cannot afford at home care, particularly for the elderly or sick, KWO provides necessary care which may include providing emotional support and encouragement. We also provide them with food, clean and cook for them and basic household care.


Projects under the Health Program


KWO is an ethnic women’s community-based organization that empowers women so they have capacity and power to solve their own problems and participate in decision-making that will affect their lives.


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