11 June 2018
As Myo Aung makes his way to the haematology unit at Mandalay General Hospital, fellow hospital visitors move aside to allow him to navigate the crowded stairway. Myo Aung has severe haemophilia A with inhibitors. He started using crutches three years ago, aged 32, due to joint damage in both knees caused by repeated bleedings. The haematology unit, led by Mandalay’s only haematologist Dr Moe Hein, is located on the first floor of the hospital. There is no lift.
“Through the NNHF project, we can relocate the haematology unit to the ground floor” explains Dr Moe Hein during a recent visit from NNHF. This is just one of the activities that will allow people like Myo Aung to access care more easily.
Teaming up with international experts
The project will also enable nurses and physiotherapists to be trained to specialise in haemophilia care. Daw Khaing Thiri Thwe is one of two physiotherapists from Mandalay who will undergo in-depth training in the UK. “After the training, I will be able to advise my colleagues on rehabilitative and preventative techniques that will reduce disabilities in people with haemophilia,” she says.
Teaming up with international experts is a theme that runs through the project, with Jennifer Maahs from Indiana Hemophilia & Thrombosis Center delivering haemophilia training to nurses from Mandalay General Hospital, the local nursing college and to healthcare professionals in two cities in the north of the country, Nay Pyi Taw and Lashio. This training will be co-delivered by the nurses and physiotherapists trained through the project, giving them a pivotal role in the sustainable improvement of care. Myo Aung will also draw on his own experiences to empower people with haemophilia and their families in the region, through psycho-social and vocational workshops.
Engaging media to achieve goals
As well as improving haemophilia knowledge and skills to improve access to care, the project team also plan to engage media to achieve their goals. During a two-day strategic media engagement workshop delivered by NNHF and a local journalist, they developed an action plan that will involve media to help identify more people with haemophilia, who can then receive diagnosis and education through the project activities.
“With this project, we not only get to collaborate with healthcare professionals from Myanmar and abroad, we also have the opportunity to strengthen our local patient organisation, getting more members and with that, a stronger voice that will get us the care that we need,” explains Myo Aung.