Although clinics are available in all the refugee camps, many women prefer the comfort of a home birth. Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) assist with these births to ensure that the mother and child are safe. KWO encourages and advocates for TBAs in all 7 Karen camps and throughout Karen State. In Mae La Oon and Mae Ra Moe camps, KWO also provides direct material assistance and training to practising TBAs. Newly arrived TBAs from Karen State were given training as necessary to familiarise them with the use of all hygiene items. In Karen State access to clinics and hospitals is limited for those in rural locations, and pre-natal care is often not administered.
The goal of the Baby Kit project is to improve the health and well-being of mothers and newborn babies in Karen State. KWO has supplied new mothers and babies with baby kits that include basic hygiene materials for the mother and child within the first few months after birth. In recognition of the importance of family planning and reproductive health, KWO ensures the family understands the best approaches in raising a family. Our aim is to provide more basic health awareness for the new mother and newborn babies, such as how to take care of themselves and their babies. When we talk about hygiene, we use this program as a way to encourage good practice to take care of ourselves and to encourage them to change their behavior to promote a better understanding of good quality of life practices. The Baby Kit project has been active in remote areas for ten-years in seven districts including Mu Traw, Taw Oo, Kler Lwee Htu, Du Tha Htu, Pa An, Doo Pla Ya and Bli/Dweh.
In Ei Hta Hta IDP camp, materials in the Baby Kits include nappies, laundry powder, baby clothes and a sarong for the mother, baby body soap body soap for mothers, nail clippers, candles and a health message pamphlet which is included to educate mothers and family members about the importance of maintaining their health as well as the babies. Some of the helpful advice it includes is to avoid smoking and drinking and how to maintain the baby’s hygiene. In 2018, 300 Baby Kits were distributed.
Karen women tend to feel more comfortable with TBAs, despite the accessibility
of clinics in the camp. KWO is an advocate of well-trained TBAs with 75 who are active in two camps in Mae La Oon and Mae Ra Moe refugee camp. TBAs
are provided with delivery kits to use for home births. The kits can be refilled
and restocked and include items such as a wash basin and a flashlight. One maternity kit is also provided to each TBA which includes one-time use items such as gloves and a blade with a handle. Organized TBA committees ensure regular training of trainers (TOT) and share information, solve problems and advocate for their role in the community. Alongside the births TBAs assist with, they also encourage information sharing in the camps and in Karen State. In 2018 awareness
sessions were held in eight sites with a total of 1,187 women participating.
Central and District levels of KWO advocate for recognition of TBAs, for birth registration and for certificates for all children, and for the National Health system to be decentralized and recognize existing ethnic health systems.
Health awareness sessions: The project staff, collaborating with KWO, TBAs, TBA trainers and other health agency staff, run health awareness sessions for women in the community.
KWO expanded our health awareness raising activities in Karen State by focusing on increasing access to basic women and children health care and nutrition for pregnant women. We conducted health awareness sessions on sanitation,nutrition, and hygiene in seven districts in Karen State. These sessions were attended by 1,094 participants (893 females, 201 male). There were also 60 pregnant women at ETT IDP who were provided with nutritious food support to ensure a healthy pregnancy. We continued to support 60 Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) who help with the safe delivery of babies in two refugee camps. They have assisted with the birth of 130 babies. In 2019, 300 more Baby Kits were distributed. We also provided 2665 health awareness training and 50 nutritional education workshops to pregnant women in IDP camp throughout 2019.
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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