Activity report from returning BBHC staff

Cyclone Nargis Medical and Disaster Relief Programs

BBHC is a small, nonprofit, community based Myanmar doctor directed organization that has provided basic health services to underserved poor urban communities in the outlying townships of Yangon since 2005.

Although a small organization with a focused target of service, we are extremely well equipped to rapidly expand our capacity in providing basic health services including emergency care to meet the needs of Cyclone Nargis survivors because of our experience in operating small health clinics. We have established a highly accountable quality of service, book keeping, budgeting and inventory recording. Most importantly we are trusted friends in the communities we serve.

Medical Relief Activities

Situation assessment was made on May 7, 2008.

The First temporary clinic site was set up in 55 Ward, South Dagon Township on May 8, 2008. The number of clinic sites grew to eight in the next five days. These are in Wards 55, 107, 17, 140 (2 locations) in South Dagon Township and Wards 133 and 152 in Eastern North Dagon Township.

The clinics are set up in local monasteries, primary schools and in one instance a local tea shop.
We have newly recruited staff of 16 comprising of 7 physicians, 1 nurse, 8 non-medical staff and a pool of 20 medical and non-medical volunteers working on a rotating schedule.

There were 3689 patients seen and treated in the first 4 weeks from May 8, 2008 to June 6, 2008.
The types of conditions treated are minor trauma, stress related anxiety, diarrhea, gastroenteritis, respiratory infections and other febrile conditions, worm colic, malnutrition and preexisting chronic conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, toxic goiter, COPD, chronic anemia.

Medical supplies are purchased from local pharmacies. Essential medication kits for 2500 patients were obtained from a friendly INGO.

Transportation and meals are provided to all team members of the mobile units.

Regular training sessions with Australian Aid International have been established for training in Disaster Relief for all BBHC staff, new recruits and volunteers.

Immediate Non-medical Relief Activities

A total of 18,400,000 Kyats, approximately US$ 16,000, was given to Ratana Metta Organization, MBEAN (Myanmar/Burma Emergency Aid Network) and 2 other BBHC affiliates for distribution of food, water purification tablets and non-food relief items (material for emergency shelter, blankets, mosquito nets, pots and pans), in Kunchan Gone, Dedaye, Bogalay, Laputta and Ngaputaw Townships.

Activities for Early Recovery

BBHC supplied 30,000 burlap bags (cost 2,700,000 MMK/2,500 US$) needed to rebuild the embankments destroyed by the cyclone in Dedaye Township through MBEAN. Additional funding of US$ 6,000 has been provided to purchase 70,000 more bags required for completion.

BBHC is collaborating with Searchers-Myanmar in providing funding to acquire approximately 25 mechanical tillers through a low interest loan program for farmers in Tamatakaw Village track in Dedaye Township. Approximate cost is US$ 20,000.

Similar program is being implemented to purchase 16 tillers for Kyun Chaung Village in Kunchan Gone Township. Approximate cost is 15,200,000 MMK, equivalent of 13,800 US$.

The reasoning behind our decision to make loans as opposed to free donations is to promote self-reliance, to empower the communities and to avoid dependency. This we also hope is the beginnings of creating an affordable credit system.
The principal and interest of the loan will be invested back in the community for development programs, such as building storm shelters, supporting orphanages, long term health education and sanitation programs.

Future Plans

Assessment teams are still returning from the delta reaching villages yet to receive any aid or medical assistance. We will continue to help distribute immediate aid to those in dire need.

Our mobile units will continue to operate in these areas. The focus will shift from acute care to preventive medicine over time. Because BBHC emphasizes sustainability we are actively recruiting to establish permanent BBHC clinic models in one or more of these new areas of operations.

We will continue our promise of support to these communities in their struggle to repair, recover and return to their rhythm of urban and rural life.

We would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to individuals and groups around the world who have shown their generous support during this time of need. We would also like to thank all the local groups and collaborating partners for their work and for sharing resources.