26-31 July 2014 – Twenty five students from International Medical University (IMU) accompanied by four Faculty members went to Myanmar for a community project. The University gave its support by providing some money through its Student Mobility Project, T shirts , stationery, transport to KLIA from IMU Cares as well as tooth paste and tooth brushes from IMU Oral Health Centre. There were also donations from the University’s staff. Besides these, the team also brought donated items to Myanmar: 29 mosquito nets , gum boots, Myanmar kyats (MKK) 100,000 for the village monastery, MKK 100, 000 for the Orphanage, three water filters, biscuits, sweets, clothes and cosmetics.
This team to Myanmar was led by an IMU Faculty member, A/Prof Ranjit De Alwis and student, Chen Kar Yan. Besides A/Prof Ranjit De Alwis, Faculty members who participated in this project were Dr Edward Crowther, Dr Ni Ni Win and Prof Hla Yee Yee. The 25 students who went to Myanmar for the community project are from Malaysia, Singapore and Myanmar. They are currently studying either an undergraduate and postgraduate programme at IMU : Medicine, Pharmacy, Dietetics with Nutrition, Chiropractic, Psychology and Public Health.
The objectives of the project were to to give IMU students hands-on experience of working with a rural health team in a foreign land; to experience working together with students from other programmes (Interprofessional education) ; to broaden their horizons by seeing another ASEAN country, learning about another culture and establish networking between IMU and two Universities in Myanmar: the University of Medicine (1) and the University of Nursing (Yangon).
Personnel from these two Universities and officials from the Department of Health were very supportive of this project. A lot of preparation was needed for this project, and it was largely through personal contacts that this project could be implemented. The office of the Deputy President, with the Deputy Minister of Health had to be contacted to assure them that our purpose was purely educational and to help with healthcare.
The Regional Administration also had to be contacted to ensure the security of our staff and students.
In Myanmar, the team of IMU staff and students went to the Wetchaung Village, a village where the main income was from agriculture.
Going to the village through its access road was difficult as it is a dirt road, with hard-to-navigate muddy stretches. It was also the rainy season in Myanmar. At the village, the students conducted many activities which include health screening, cleaning the Wetchaung School, repairing furniture at the school and entertaining the villages with song and dances.
In Yangon, the team visited the Thukha Yeik Myone Orphanage, an NGO-run home for more than 120 children orphaned by HIV/AIDS who are all under treatment.
Besides the orphanage, the students also had the opportunity to visit University of Medicine (1)-Pyay Campus and Lanmadaw Campus, University of Nursing (Yangon) and Kaba Aye Pagoda (World Peace Pagoda) & Sima . A two-day sojourn in the ancient city of Bagan made it a really memorable trip for the students.