The Buzz Off team has just completed two more Burma seminars where 98 new malaria volunteers were trained.
The team consisted of trainers from Australia, Myanmar, Holland and the UK who held two seminars in remote Burma.
Twantay – Irrawaddy Seminar
The first seminar took place in Twantay a township that is in the Yangon region but on the border of the Irrawaddy. It took the team two hours to travel there by bus.
59 students attended this seminar, and again we were amazed the distances people travelled to attend. One man came from a town that was in Shan state close to the Chinese border, and others came from Rakhine state. The bulk of the trainees were from the Irrawaddy.
This seminar was amazing and from the very start the students were keen and active. We introduced for the first time in these seminars a session on Tuberculosis.
We are expecting there to be greater information coverage in the Irrawaddy about malaria as a consequence of this seminar.
Kalay – Chin State Seminar
The second seminar was held in Kalay on the border of Chin state. 39 people were trained, nearly 60 were expected by heavy rains in the mountains meant that many could not get through to Kalay.
However, we were again amazed at distances travelled. Nine people came from one remote village 80 Kms away, they had walked the first 40 Km before being able to get a bus the rest of the way.
During this seminar we tried a couple of new innovations. The first was catch up times for people who had arrived late and missed most of the first day of the seminar, these were 30 minute short sessions held over lunch time, which worked really well.
The second innovation was on the day after the seminars ended we took the students into local villages and let them communicate the malaria message, in one village some limited testing was done and the nurses were able to run a short clinic on site.
This extra day outreach activity was very successful and is likely to become a regular feature in these seminars.
Another feature we introduced in these seminars was using technology to spread the Malaria message.
Last year in Mon State we noticed that many young people were using smart phones and updating their Facebook even though internet speeds in Myanmar are abysmal!
So we have developed a means through which a lot of the malaria information we have developed in Burmese languages can be put onto the micro SD card on the smart phone device and thus shared at will where ever.
During these seminars we gave away USB drives and micro SD cards full of videos, images and text documents that can be freely shared. Many students also downloaded material wirelessly onto their phones. We will continue to do this in future seminars and as the amount of material we put on our Burmese language site myanmar.buzzoff.org increases it will also be able to shared by smart phone.
On the last day in Kalay the tram visited an orphanage and was able to present some solid healthcare and malaria massages through games and talks. A good time was had by all.
We would like to acknowledge and thank Mobile Mercy in Holland for their support of these seminars, they are an amazing team and we look forward to seeing them all again in Myanmar some time in the very near future.
You support of Buzz Off is helping to bring positive change to rural Myanmar donations towards Buzz Off’s Burma Campaign can be made here