photo credit: IOM/muse mohammed
“Since my childhood, I had wanted to be a medical doctor who could save the lives of people and promote health education, especially for vulnerable people. Soon after graduating from university I worked in an international organization as a medical doctor where I was posted in Rakhine State assisting with emergency rescue during a period of conflict. During this time I became very interested in public health.
Working in Bogale for IOM has been a great experience. We work well coordinating with the township health department to improve maternal and child health, to raise community awareness of health issues and in building the capacity of auxiliary mid-wives, community health workers and village health tract committees. Part of this role includes mainstreaming gender issues into health policy. I’m proud to serve the community through my work.
I think we need to look beyond the numbers of maternal deaths. It’s so sad that many family members may be left without care of a mother or a wife. It encourages me to be a part of the maternal and child health project to support women’s lives through health care.
Providing training to volunteer health workers was a real highlight as they are people from community who want to make a difference. Having the chance to work closely with these people, to learn from their experiences and to understand the strength of their communities was really powerful. It also gave me a chance to motivate them to learn about health related activities but also to empower the women to contribute to their communities.
I believe that in most professional settings in Myanmar men have fewer barriers to succeed than women. In our culture, most people think that men are more trustful and have stronger leadership and decision making skills. But I believe that it depends on the individual, not on gender.
I think, in Myanmar, we still need to improve women’s rights. In all sectors, if there are equal rights for all human beings such as equality of income, opportunities and conditions, it will lead to development of the country. I think in Myanmar, it’s easier for a man to get a job than a woman, so in a family, women become dependent financially on the man and can lead to less equality. It becomes a tradition in Myanmar, not everywhere, but especially in rural areas. In this respect I think women must empower themselves so that we are not vulnerable.”