Project Kachin 2019 is a new project launched this year. Over the course of 10 days, we provided basic healthcare services for the internally displaced persons in Myitkyina, Myanmar.
Project Kachin hopes to provide much needed healthcare in the form of primary care to people displaced by the internal conflict in Myitkyina.
Setting off from Singapore to Yangon City to have a good glimpse and understanding of Burmese culture before getting down to business
Finally headed off to Myitkyina. Upon landing, we were honoured to be invited to dinner at the house of Mdm Ja Seng Hkawn Maran, chairperson of our partner volunteer organisation, Kachin Women’s Union, and Minister of Parliament at Kachin State Parliament. With everyone gathered—doctors, medical students, KWU members and interpreters, we officially marked the start of Project Kachin 2019.
TRINITY PA LA NA CAMP
Things were a bit hectic at the start but soon picked up pace. Everyone worked hard to do the best they can for the massive numbers coming through the door, in the shortest time possible. The resilience of the local people was moving as they strive to raise their family in a climate of unrest and uncertainty.
With new additions to the group—Dr Romilda Santos and Dr Roigie Guiyab, the consultations were able to progress more quickly. There was a good variety of cases from back pain, corneal scarring and eczema to cyanotic spells and epilepsy, offering good learning opportunities for the medical students.
ST JOSEPH PA LA NA CAMP + INN JAN DONG CAMP
ST JOSEPH CAMP
This was one of the longest days spent at a camp. The numbers down with upper respiratory tract infections were staggering, shedding light on the challenges faced during the flu season in these camps with crowded living conditions.
KHAT CHO CAMP
We were faced with the limitations of our efforts when locals presented with conditions requiring surgical intervention such as cataracts but did not have the money to receive treatment. It was saddening to see the disability that they have to live with but yet we were helpless in what we could offer. In the afternoon, we were visited by members from the Kachin state free medication foundation who sponsored some of our medications and came with local souvenirs as tokens of encouragement.
JAW MA SAT CAMP
In for a late start as the locals in the camp had church service in the morning, we got the chance to visit sights in Myitkyina. To enjoy in the full tourist experience, we also put on the local Longkyi for the day
Another camp hit badly by the flu season. There was also a whole family presenting with months of haemoptysis, concerning for tuberculosis infection. While they have been advised to go to the hospital for a full work up, it might be financially difficult for them to do so and it is grim to think how many more within the camp could get infected.
JANG MAI KONG CAMP
This was the last camp we visited. There were fewer to see in this camp and after that, we were once again honoured to be treated to a BBQ and steamboat buffet by Mdm Seng Hkawn Maran. With a closing speech by herself, a token of appreciation for both herself and Jabrim, certificates presented to our interpreters and gift bags handed out to our members, we officially marked the closure of Project Kachin 2019.
R AND R
We visited Myitsone—Burmese for ‘confluence’—of the 2 rivers that make up the Irrawaddy river—referenced to in the name Myitkyina—Burmese for ‘near the big river’. Though the weather was not at its best, we made the most of the scenery, taking photos in the local traditional costumes and the most of the water, having a nice dip in it.