GlobeMed at Dartmouth College partners with the Kachin Women’s Association Thailand to promote the health of women and children displaced by the ethnic conflict in Burma.
GlobeMed at Dartmouth College + KWAT
GlobeMed at Dartmouth College | Hanover, New Hampshire
Kachin Women’s Association Thailand (KWAT) | Chiang Mai, Thailand
There are approximately 1–2 million Burmese refugees and illegal migrants in Thailand, of which 120,000 live in camps on the Thai–Burmese border.
“We are very glad to work with university students for the benefit of our community. It is a great opportunity to cooperate with young people from a different country. Our team is also comprised of young people and we hope that we will learn from each other as we have different knowledge, skills and perspectives so that we can exchange our point of views.”
– Ah Swi, Migrant Program Coordinator at KWAT
About the Partnership
Five women formed the Kachin Women’s Association Thailand (KWAT) in Chiang Mai in 1999 to support and empower women and children who have left their homes in the Kachin State of Burma and have crossed the Thai-Burmese border into Thailand due to political, economic, and social deterioration. KWAT’s mission is the empowerment and advancement of Kachin women in order to improve the lives of women and children in Kachin society. The GlobeMed chapter at Dartmouth College was drawn to KWAT’s emphasis on women and children’s rights, health, and education, and their grassroots, community-based model. Since their partnership began in the fall of 2011, GlobeMed at Dartmouth has raised over $15,000 to support KWAT’s Health Program.
GlobeMed at Dartmouth aims to fund the implementation of a KWAT-operated medical laboratory in Mai Ja Yang, a Kachin refugee camp in Burma. The lab will provide free diagnostic screenings for Kachin refugees for HIV/AIDS, malaria, and TB, which will improve the quality of health and health care in this region.
Crowded living conditions, poor sanitation and hygiene, lack of clean water, and insufficient food and nutrition cause increased rates of illness among internally displaced people (IDP) in the region. The hospital-based medical laboratory will care for and treat all patients more systematically and effectively. The laboratory is also important for pregnant women who have contracted HIV/AIDS, as babies can be protected from mother-to-child transmission with proper treatment and early diagnosis. Over the long-term, this project will improve the health of the Kachin refugees in the region. We hope to improve the lives of the 10,000 refugees in camps in Mai Ja Yang, reduce the disease burden afflicting the population through early diagnosis, and make free diagnostic screenings more accessible to Kachin refugees.