Voices from the communities: Naw Daisy from Myanmar

Voices from the communities: Naw Daisy from Myanmar

My name is Naw Daily, 27-year-old. I’m living in Ohn Chaung village, Shwe Thaung Yan township, Ayeyarwady region, located in Southwest of Myanmar.

I am a volunteer working for a local church in my village. I am also a caregiver of 90 years old grandmother who is suffering from hypertension, but I did not know much about its symptoms and how to care for her. I therefore attended this training organised by the SUNI-SEA project to gain more health knowledge.

I have learnt so much about the health impacts of hypertension. In the past, if my grandmother had high blood pressure, I used to think she will be fine as long as she takes medication. I did not think it was a serious health issue. Now I am aware that it can have severe health problems and I have learnt how to prevent them. During the training, not only my health knowledge had improved but my skills in measuring blood levels as well as calculating Body Mass Index (BMI) had improved as well.

Before I joined this training, I was not aware of the risk factors of diabetes. I now know why some patients with diabetes had to have their legs, feet, or toes removed because diabetes has impact on wound healing. I did not know its early signs and symptoms before. If we are aware of the signs, I believe we could avoid the disease. I also did not realise that drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes had a serious impact on our health. I learned a lot about their consequences on health in this training.

At the training, the staff introduced NCD selfcare application and taught us how to use it. I think the NCD application is very useful because it includes a lot of information on the diseases including hypertension and diabetes, their early signs as well as ways to prevent them. This is very helpful for a caregiver like me who is taking care of older person at home.

Apart from my grandmother, other members in my family also suffered from chronic diseases. Both my mother and sister have heart diseases. The food they are eating is not healthy and they take medications without a doctor’s prescription which makes their health conditions worsen. My grandmother loves salty food. When I reduce the amount of salt when I cook her meals, she would add more salt to all the dishes. Now that I have attended the course, I know more about the effects of unhealthy food and that high level of salt intake is associated with the risks of chronic diseases like hypertension. Using this NCD application, I will share with my family a healthy and balanced diet as well as encourage them to adopt a healthier lifestyle and do more physical activity.

I also intend to share this app with other people in my community. In my village, a lot of people lack health knowledge. They often rely on the internet, especially Facebook to get health information but the information is not always reliable. I will encourage my friends to use this app to get accurate health knowledge. As a community volunteer, I can also provide basic health screening services using this app to older people in my village.

I have heard about the phrase “prevention is better than cure”, but in practice, I did not know what to do to prevent myself from all those non-communicable diseases. Now I know how to take care of my health, what to do and what not to do. I can now take better care of myself, my family members and others in the communities.