Providing life-saving nutrition services amid armed conflict

Nutrition screenings. OCHA.

CERF in underfunded emergencies: Myanmar

In January 2022 CERF allocated $12 million dollars under its underfunded emergencies (UFE) window, to support relief operations in Myanmar.

Myanmar, Kawkareik township, Kayin State. As a volunteer auxiliary midwife (AMW), Naw Hsar Htoo 35, provides life-saving nutrition services, despite the constant threat of armed clashes that leaves villagers fearing for their lives.

“Our villagers live in fear every day,” says Naw Hsar Htoo, the mother of a 6-year-old boy. She lives in a village in Kawkareik township, which has been the scene of increasingly frequent skirmishes.

Since she completed the AMW training provided by UNICEF and Première Urgence Internationale (PUI) in July 2021, Naw Hsar Htoo has been volunteering  in her village. She said the village is home to  1,076 people, among whom there were 2 pregnant women, 26 lactating mothers and 73 children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years in August 2022.

“PUI staff are not able to come to our village due to the fighting, but I am still providing nutrition services, with limited resources, even in this crisis situation,” says Naw Hsar Htoo. She also recently assisted during a delivery.

Her work includes measuring Mid-Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC) to screen for malnutrition and providing infant and young child feeding (IYCF) counselling. She also provides micronutrient powders to improve young children’s diets and ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF) to treat acutely malnourished children, as well as vitamin A and deworming tablets. “I also volunteered to conduct cooking demonstrations and support mobile clinics run by PUI,” says Naw Hsar Htoo.

Village Leader Saw San Pe praised Naw Hsar Htoo and other volunteers for using the skills they acquired in the UNICEF/PUI training, supported by CERF, to continue “providing services to our children and pregnant mothers in need during these difficult times. Those services are really beneficial to our villagers.”

PUI Project Manager Dr. Htet Zaw Shein also praised the volunteers’ workin the area’s villages, which he said vindicated the project’s community-based approach. “This is the essence of the primary health care approach for longterm sustainability,” he said.


More informaton on the CERF allocation (UFE 2022)

CERF data hub (UFE 2022)