The People We Serve
The Story of Nang Pe: Midwife Saves Lives in Ga Naing Nge West Village
My name is Nang Pe and I live in Ga Naing Nge West village. I have three children and my husband is Khun Lan. We grow cheroot leaves that are used to make cigars. When I was pregnant with my last child, I took prenatal vitamins from our Village Nurse Midwife (VNM), Phyu Thazin Oo, but I didn’t plan to deliver my baby with her because I had successfully delivered my first two children with the Traditional Birth Attendant (TBA, an untrained woman who assists at births) from the village.
But the last birth, when I used the TBA, was really difficult for me. Three hours after the birth, the placenta had not come out and my abdomen was very painful. My baby was very cold and the TBA didn’t cut the umbilical cord. I was very afraid and I thought my baby and I would die. The TBA told me to wait and it would all be ok. Finally, we called for Nang Phyu Thazin Oo who would understand my condition.
When the VNM arrived, she asked about my symptoms and she cut the baby’s umbilical cord. She told me to go to the hospital immediately and that we should not waste any more time. It is not easy to get to the hospital in Taunggyi and took about one hour by motor bike and the VNM went with me. The doctors at the hospital invited her to the delivery room to assist in removing the placenta. All the doctors from the hospital told me she saved my life.
If Nang Phyu Thazin Oo was not there, I am sure I would have died. Now, I understand very well about health care. I will teach the other women in our village how important it is to use our VNM. We are really lucky to have a clever and patient nurse midwife for our village. Nang Phyu Thazin Oo works unselfishly and patiently for our village and is trusted by the villagers. Now, it is ok to talk about disease, health care and medicine. If I am ever ill, I will go to her for care. And, after our VNM gives vitamins to the under 5 year’s old children, the children are healthier and stronger than before.
I am very thankful to Shanta Foundation who is helping our village in many ways.
Success Story of Village Nurse Midwife from Lone Chin
The duties of a village nurse midwife include home birth deliveries, providing contraception for the women, prenatal care, treatment of minor illness, referring serious illness cases to the hospital and monthly weighing and giving vitamin for village children under 5 years old. This is the success story of 23 year old Nang Htun of Lone Chin village. She and her carpenter husband Khun Kyaw Moe have one son. Before attending the 6 month training to become a midwife from August 2011 to February 2011 she was a farmer in the fields. Lone Chin did not have a nurse midwife prior to Nang Htun. The following interview show what in impact this training has on the entire village.
How has having a village nurse midwife impacted the village?
If people sick, they had to go for a 20 minute walk to get treatment. And also if the pregnant woman can’t deliver at home with the traditional birth attendant, her family had to go far away to take her to a midwife. This situation put some pregnant women were in danger. Since the clinic is so far away, most of villagers don’t care their minor illnesses and some cause more serious like diarrhea, hypertension, wounds and skin infection.
Now I can support and I can care for our villager’s health. Most of the villagers came and take medicine, get contraception and get health education how to take care themselves at home when they are sick. Now not as many people get the Flu during seasonal changes.What feedback have you received from the villagers about this Village Nurse Midwife training?
All of the villagers are happy and thankful to Shanta for this program. As a village and we can’t afford to attend this kind of training. They are happy because they don’t need to go anywhere to get medicine and to give birth. Another benefit is cost for medicines and delivery are less expensive than travelling to another place because I charge a little amount of money. Not only did Shanta support me when I was at training but also the villagers supported my family with foods while I was gone.
Tell me about your personal changes and successes since becoming a nurse midwife?
It has really helped my family now that I have a job that I can make money from and no longer need to work hard in the field. I’m very pleased and proud of myself to work as a nurse midwife and take care of our villager’s health. I have delivered 3 babies from our villages. Some of the pregnant women didn’t deliver with me but I did regular prenatal care for them. I understand about the medicine, how to use safely and how to inject.
Are there any difficulties or challenges you’ve face while working as a village nurse midwife?
Yes, I have. One time when I delivered a baby, the baby was come out with breech not with head. So I went to nearest sub centre and called the midwife to deliver that baby with breech. The baby was delivered successfully and I learned how to deliver with breech presentation from that midwife.
The second one was one villager came to me with deep yellow skin and I knew that it was serious case. So I took him to a tertiary center (Taunggyi Hospital) to get proper treatment. Doctors from the hospital said we arrived just in time and I saved his life. Now that villager can work again in his field.
What are other projects or programs of Shanta do you and your family participate?
My family participates in pig farm project, loan fund, coffee, and solar projects. We now have three pigs, about 100 coffee plants, and solar lights in our home. We already sold four piglets and have put the money into savings! I think every project working together with Shanta is successful. I am also a teacher at the village daycare center.
Do you want to say anything or any suggestions?
I thank Shanta Foundation, without them I would have never even dreamed of becoming a village nurse midwife. Our village has developed in many ways with the help of Shanta and with the training from Shanta we are ready to maintain our development. If I can get one more chance to attend a new training for nurse and midwife, I would like to attend. Thank you so much!
Success Story of a Village Family
U Mone, 44 years old, lives in the village of Ga Naing Nge West, with his wife, Nang Loon, and three children.
Ten years ago their home burned down while they were away. U Mone is blind in one eye from an accident cutting bamboo. Up until two years ago U Mone was a carpenter but his ‘company’ dissolved and he no longer has work. He owns two small fields, where he grows cheroot leaves, but their value has plummeted over the past few years.
The family has faced difficult times in their life. However, U Mone feels like their luck is beginning to turn around because of Shanta Foundation. U Mone now has his own pig farm, which has the potential to triple his family’s income! And, the family is really happy that Nang Kyi Htwe, their youngest daughter, is so bright that she was chosen by the village to attend Shanta’s special boarding school. Nang Kyi Htwe is the “the sunshine of their family” because she is smart and studies hard. The family now has a lot hope for their future.
Success Story of an English Language Summer School Student
The following interview is the success story of English Language Summer School student Nang Phyu Phyu Win. She is a 14 year old, 9th grade student from Ta Khae village. Her parents are U Ohn Maung and Daw Nang Dit and they work hard as farmers to provide for Phyu Phyu (Pew Pew) and her younger brother. For the past two summers Phyu Phyu attended the Shanta Foundation English classes in her village.
Why did you attend this class?
I like to learn and speak English. Nowadays, people use English a lot (eg. notice boards, restaurants) and in television children are speaking English and I admire them. Also, when I see Myanmar people who are speaking with foreigner, I admire them and I imagine myself like that. So those thoughts push me to learn English more and I attend this summer class.
Was English a difficult subject for you before attending the summer classes?
It was a really difficult subject for me before. I found that grammar is very important for the lessons in the class but I didn’t understand it well. I just studied to remember the sentence because I didn’t understand well.
How did your English improve after you attended this class last year?
After last year, it is easier to learn English. Before I don’t know verb, adjective, noun and couldn’t understand them. And also I didn’t understand how to use verb to be, verb to do, verb to have. But after the class I understood and learned many words. I can speak English a little bit now.
How did you feel about attending class this summer?
I’m very happy to attend and don’t bore in the summer time. And I’m feeling thankful to Shanta for opening this class in my village and giving us a chance like that. If not, we don’t have chance to attend English class because we have no money to go and attend class in town. We are so lucky to meet with wonderful teachers. They are really nice and we are playing games in the class without stress. They took us other places we’ve never been before.
Tell me about your changes and success after attending this class.
There are so many changes and successes for me. First thing is I understand English well and I got distinction in English public school classes. I’ve never dream to get distinction in English before and I just studied hard to pass. Next success is communication with people. In this class, teachers let us play games with the group, tell stories to get knowledge, and every student has to go in front of the class and talk either with a partner or by themselves. I was really shy to speak with adult people and boys before. And also I was shy to play and do homework together with boys before. I’m not shy anymore now and I have confidence to speak. These all are successes for me.
What do your parents say about this class?
My parents are feeling pleased. Especially my mom is happy. She didn’t let me miss the class and told me to learn hard. She said that you don’t need to go other place to attend and the class came to you. You are very lucky.
What do you want to do in the future?
I want to be an engineer. I also want to be a person who can teach English to the children.
Do you have any suggestions to improve English class?
I would like to say thank you to Shanta Foundation and teachers. I would like to advise all my classmates to attend this class. I want to attend class next year also. It will be better if the class can start early March to have more days learn. Thank you very much.
Changing the Face of Health Care Programs
Kham Law is changing the face of health care in Tee Lone village. As the village’s auxiliary nurse-midwife, she has safely delivered all 12 babies born in 2012/13 and is currently providing prenatal care for seven pregnant women and general medicine for all adults.
Shanta’s Village Nurse-Midwife Program trained the first generation of community health leaders in five of our Partnership Villages in 2011. These women have taken on the role of primary health provider for their entire village.
Dr. Nge Nge, our regional director, is also conducting monthly professional development sessions with the village nurse-midwives, reviewing their caseload and studying Where There is No Doctor, a valuable book on health care in remote areas.
Previously, untrained health workers would treat all medical complaints, often with outdated drug injections and no accurate diagnosis. Traditional birth attendants were not trained to handle delivery complications and offered no prenatal care. In February 2013, a staff member’s sister-in-law died from complications from an abortion in Yim Bya village.
The Maternal Health Care Program includes:
- Prenatal exams
- High quality prenatal vitamins (donated by VitaminAngels)
- Safe childbirth support
- Contraception options
- Infant care
- Immunization management
Kham Law is amazingly confident, loves delivering babies, and is well-respected by her village elders. Plus, she is earning an excellent income.