Going further in Myanmar
For over 20 years, Health Poverty Action has been working with communities in Myanmar’s isolated, mountainous northeast, in areas controlled by armed ethnic groups. It can be up to 12 days’ walk from the closest roads and many people pay huge expenses to receive simple medical treatments.
It is equally difficult for health workers to travel to these remote areas. Many communities are completely inaccessible during the winter season, with roads covered in heavy snow from December to May. Khao Ze, a Health Poverty Action Community Mobilization Officer, tells us:
“It’s a huge challenge. The natural environment here is very difficult. The rain never stops during the rainy seasons and some areas have no access at all…But I want to do it…so I will take responsibility to reach every corner of our homeland.”
In collaboration with local government, we train health workers with local knowledge of these communities and their dialects, provide mobile clinics that reach the remotest villages, and supply equipment to regional clinics.
Clashes with the government and ethnic minorities mean that tensions are high, and people are wary of both the central government and outsiders. Very few NGOs have the authorization, knowledge or ability to work here, meaning that our impact is absolutely vital.
Going further to address drug policy
Community leaders from the Global South have asked us to address an issue that is rarely considered by development organisations despite its impact on people and the planet – the current approach to drug prohibition.
We understand that current global drug policy perpetuates a vicious cycle of poverty, inequality, corruption and violence. We recognise that it is often injustice, inequality and vulnerability that drives people to engage in the drug trade, whether as consumers, producers or suppliers.
Alongside thousands around the world we’re calling for a new approach. This is the approach of legal regulation; regulating the global drug market to promote equitable development, champion public health, safeguard human rights and protect the environment.
Health Poverty Action has worked with NGOs, farmers, and academics to identify 15 key priorities to be included in legal regulation policy that will strengthen sustainable development and global equity.
We are advocating to ensure that governments and policymakers consider these priorities as they explore legal regulation of drugs. You can see these priorities presented in graphic form below.