As BPHWT’s first, overarching program, the Medical Care Program’s original goal embodied BPHWT’s overall mission: to provide primary healthcare services to conflict affected populations in Eastern Burma where access to health care is otherwise unavailable. The Medical Care Program aims to reduce mortality and morbidity rates by diagnosing and treating common illnesses and injuries, including war injuries, in the BPHWT target areas.
When MCP health workers travel to their target areas, they visit the homes of sick villagers, diagnose them, and provide them with treatments from their backpacks. The most common illnesses the health workers see are malaria, diarrhea/dysentery, acute respiratory infections, anemia, and worm infestation. However, the health workers also treat war injuries and a host of other conditions. Increasingly, health workers encounter infectious diseases that they are not equipped to treat, such as suspected tuberculosis or HIV/AIDS. Health workers cannot care for these patients because of the extensive care and treatment such patients require, but health workers are able to provide these individuals with health education and referral information. Patients suffering from more severe illnesses, such as cerebral malaria, are referred to the nearest clinic or hospital, and health workers will often help to facilitate this transfer and make sure that the patient arrives safely.
BPHWT aims to increase the population receiving MCP services each year to ensure that populations in need receive basic medical care. In addition, this system of healthcare delivery also allows BPHWT to monitor and adeptly respond to outbreaks of infectious disease of international concern, including diarrhea, measles, and influenza-like illnesses. Such responses are important in areas that are barred to international humanitarian organizations by the Burma Government.
- Provide essential drugs for common diseases in the target areas
- Strengthen patient referral systems
- Respond to disease outbreaks and emergency situations
- Improve health workers’ skills and knowledge