Improve reproductive health care on the Thailand-Myanmar border

By Cambridge Reproductive Health Consultants

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The issue

The overarching political and economic environment in Myanmar has led to the displacement of millions of people. Some 230,000 people are displaced internally and over 100,000 live in nine refugee camps along the Thailand-Myanmar border. Additionally, northern Thailand hosts hundreds of thousands of documented and undocumented migrants from Myanmar.

The unmet reproductive health needs of displaced and migrant women from Myanmar are well documented. Estimates place the maternal mortality ratio (MMR) in conflict-affected Eastern Myanmar at around 1,000 deaths per 100,000 live births; this is about five times higher than the MMR for Myanmar as a whole and higher still than the MMR of 20 in Thailand.

For displaced and migrant women in northern Thailand, access to health care is often limited, unwanted pregnancy is common, and unsafe abortion is a major contributor to maternal death and disability.

Who we are and what we do

Cambridge Reproductive Health Consultants (CRHC) is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving reproductive health and fostering reproductive justice worldwide. By leveraging the skills of professionals from a variety of fields and disciplines, CRHC focuses on increasing access to safe, legal, high quality, and affordable abortion care, reducing harm from unsafe abortion, increasing access to emergency contraception and long-acting reversible contraceptive methods, and advancing new reproductive health technologies in low resource environments and refugee and conflict settings. CRHC accomplishes its mission by conducting action- and intervention-oriented research, creating and incubating new and innovative programs, and developing and delivering evidence-based reproductive health information, resources, and trainings.

One of our longstanding partners is the Adolescent Reproductive Health Zone (ARHZ). ARHZ is a non-governmental organization that offers a variety of programs to improve access to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) care and empower women and girls along the Thailand-Myanmar border.

ARHZ’s core programming includes:

  • Creating and distributing low-literacy resources on both sides of the border,
  • Running educational sessions for migrant and displaced populations,
  • Training nurse midwifery students to work in SRH services in Eastern Myanmar and with displaced communities in Northern Thailand, and
  • Running a Safe Abortion Referral Program (SARP) in Chiang Mai, Thailand, to reduce the socio-linguistic, economic, documentation, and transportation barriers women from Myanmar face in accessing safe and legal abortion care in Thailand.

“Without this program, women can lose their lives.”

– a SARP participant

You can read more about developing the SARP here, and an evaluation of the network here.

Where your money goes

ARHZ’s programming is supported through small grants and private donations. But, we are expanding our programming and we need your help to keep ARHZ’s key initiatives both running and growing.

  • $10 produces 10 low literacy comic books dedicated to reducing harm from unsafe abortion
  • $25 supports the travel of one woman to obtain a safe and legal abortion
  • $50 provides 10 women medication abortions using misoprostol
  • $100 covers the costs of one facility-based abortion at a quality verified facility
  • $250 pays for the living expenses of one nursing student from Myanmar while she obtains training on sexual and reproductive health services
  • $1000 covers one year of tuition and fees for a nursing student

Please reach out to us if you have any questions about ARHZ programming.

Thank you for making access to key sexual and reproductive health services available to women along the Thailand-Myanmar border.

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Team Members

Angel M. Foster

Cari Sietstra