As conditions in Burma remain desperate for the people living in eastern and northern Burma, Burma Humanitarian Mission has expanded its support to Backpack Medics – the primary source of medical care and community health services in these areas.
For the past 6 decades, the Burma regime has conducted a campaign of oppression and suppression of the ethnic minorities. The minorities – the Karen in the east, the Kachin in the north, Mon in the south – sought to live free and maintain their language, culture and religion. The regime, however, sought to preserve the state of Burma without any changes. The sustained campaign of violence was aimed to prevent the minorities from maintaining their identity.
As a result of the oppression, conditions in eastern Burma have been horrific. In places where there are no Backpack medics:
• 1 in 14 infants die before their first birthday
• 1 in 7 children die before their 5th birthday – 10 times the rate in Thailand
• The maternal mortality rate is 15 times the rate in Thailand
• 1 in 10 suffer from diarrhea and dysentery
• 1 in 5 suffer from malaria
• 1 in 5 from Acute Respiratory Infection (pneumonia)
• 2 in 5 children suffer from acute malnutrition
• 60% of all children’s deaths could have been prevented with basic meds
To counter these trends, the Karen and others formed backpack medic teams to care for their own people. In 1998, 120 medics comprised 32 teams and treated 64,000 people. In 2012, these grew to 95 teams caring for over 200,000 people.
Where the teams operate, deaths from malaria are down by 48%, from dysentery are down by 51%, and infant mortality has been reduced over 3 fold.
In 2012, Burma Humanitarian Mission supported these 8 of the 95 teams with 1 million doses of medicine for more than 23,000 people. During this time, BHM’s supported medics
• Supported 680 births
• Treated 536 patients with dysentery/diarrhea
• Treated 1,119 malaria patients
• Treated over 1,317 patients with acute pneumonia
• Treated 504 patients with severe anemia
• Treated over 500 patients with the measles
• Treated 4 gunshot victims – saving 4 lives
• Treated 2 landmine victims – saving 2 lives
As we moved into 2013, our support has grown. We’ve added support for 2 additional medic teams, growing the population we support to over 28,000 people with 1.2 million doses of medicine. This support will include over 15,000 doses of anti-malarial treatments – vital to saving lives.
We are often asked who are big donors are. The answer is simple: everyone. Over 85% of all donations come from individuals contributing $10 or more. Where $1 provides 40 doses of medicine…or $7 outfits a medic team with the lifesaving drugs needed for 1 day…or $25 buys the penicillin needed for a team for 6 months…there’s no donation too small NOT to make a big difference.
In a society where many people feel isolated or incapable of effecting change, Burma Humanitarian Mission provides a conduit for individuals to have a real positive impact on those who have no hope…but for their generosity.