Our Work in Myanmar
An overburdened healthcare system lacking cleft professionals puts children born with cleft at risk of being left behind. We're working to change that.
Cleft Care in Myanmar Today
The barriers to timely comprehensive care in Myanmar are many and mounting every day. A shortage of cleft care specialists means that children and families must travel long distances to access care, a situation that has been exacerbated by the current conflict and its enormous impact on the public healthcare system. It is speculated that domestic rates of poverty have risen to 40% due to the conflict.
Families residing in communities near the border are obliged to travel to Thailand to access safe cleft surgical care. Between 2020-2023, a border closure limited families from accessing in-person services. Transforming Faces partnered to develop unique ways for families to access care closer to home, though a backlog of children waiting for treatment continues.
- Population: 54,179,000
- Capital: Yangon
- Below Poverty Line: 40% est.
- Cleft Incidence: 1,880+/year
A major shortage of cleft providers in Myanmar means that families affected by cleft must travel across country or even across borders into Thailand for care
There are currently no formally trained speech therapists where we work. Our partner currently relies upon virtual care and local speech assistants to bridge this gap.
Lack of cleft care infrastructure and low community awareness present challenges for delivering timely care close to families’ homes
Treatments spanning the circle of care provided for children and families this year
Families reporting satisfaction with their child’s self-confidence and well-being thanks to our partner’s support
Local volunteers helping to ensure children access follow-up care during this conflict period
Stories from Myanmar
In our impact report, we shared that, thanks to our monthly Bright Start donors, we were able to exceptionally arrange surgery for 11 children in the capital city, Yangon. Among those children, a photo of Yoon* and her father, Phyo was featured. Early in 2020, Phyo and his wife Aung learned they would be expecting…
There are many challenges to providing comprehensive care in northern Thailand, Laos and Myanmar from border crossings and the long distances families have to travel, to language barriers and a lack of awareness about treatment options. Over the last 20 years TF has built a successful partnership with the Northern Women’s Development Foundation (NWDF) to…
Though the border between Thailand and Myanmar has remained closed since March 25, 2020 due to COVID travel restrictions, TF’s local partner, the Northern Women’s Development Foundation (NWDF), continues to support virtual speech and counselling support while promoting the prevention of COVID. Thanks to the support of monthly Bright Start donors, 48 patients have been…
We know that early, comprehensive care is essential in helping a child born with cleft thrive! But in low-income context where specialized scare is scarce, how do you support a baby who is unable to breastfeed as a result of their cleft? This is a major concern in Myanmar, where our partner regularly meets babies…
Baby Nang* charms everyone she meets! The smiley one-year-old is absolutely doted upon by her mother (who constantly has to chase after her energetic little girl). Nang was the family’s firstborn. They live in Myanmar, where her father works as a labourer for $6 CAD per day, and her mother cleans homes for extra money…
7-year-old Pwint is soft-spoken and shy during our interview – happily letting her energetic and giggly little brother take centre stage. He looks to her often for reassurance as he entertains us with his antics, making sure she is also laughing at his jokes. We see what their mother means when she tells us that…
Our Partners in Cleft Care
TF has been supporting partners in Myanmar since 2017.
Our Partnerships in Myanmar
- Local Collaboration, Myanmar