Shan healthcare

Shan-Tai prayer month 2011, day 3

According to the Myanmar Ministry of Health, the two main objectives of the Ministry of Health are to : (1) to enable every citizen to attain full life expectancy and (2) to ensure that every citizen is free from diseases.

Fantastic goals for a health service to have, if only they were true. In reality there are few, if any, countries in the world that spend less of their GDP on health or more on their military. If ethnic peoples within Burma die of poor health it means the army have less resistance.

The true healthcare situation in Shan State is that while there are some medical clinics and hospitals, patients must pay for their own medicine. If a patient cannot pay they will not be treated. This means most villagers cannot afford medicines and turn to traditional remedies instead.

Healthcare is a way in which Christians can reach out to help and shine the healing of the Gospel into the lives of Shan people:

Stuart Corlett, Partners’ Shan Projects Manager, comments on what he sees happening in Shan State:
The Shan people are primarily Buddhist. Does
Jesus come into the equation? Of course! I was recently
talking with a Buddhist, Shan friend. He said this to me in broken English, “Three years ago when you first started working with us, I thought you only wanted us to be Christians. Now I realize that you wanted to be like God to us…” What he meant was that his initial thinking about Partners’ involvement was about religion; what he has found out is that we desire to represent God to him and the Shan people.

God uses the efforts of Christians to heal both through medical assistance and through prayer. In a culture with high awareness of the spirit world God’s healing through the prayers of Shan Christians can be a very powerful witness.

And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people.
(Matthew 4:23 ESV)

Pray for

  • God’s healing mercy to work among the Shan who are sick (see Matthew 4:23).
  • Local churches to be eager and confident in reaching out in love to the needy community (see Titus 2:13b–14).
  • That the child morbidity and mortality rates in Shan State will be reduced.
  • Pray for the mothers and fathers of the children who die before turning 5. (That is 221 of every 1000 children in eastern Burma). Pray for strength to live through the pain.
  • Pray for Iternally Displaced Persons who are living in hiding in Burma’s jungles. Security is low and their basic needs are seldom met.
  • Pray that relief teams will be able to reach as many people as possible with the gifts of medicine and healthcare workers.
  • Pray for relief team workers. The tasks of the teams are many, and they are often traveling in hostile territories. Pray for protection, health and wisdom in all the different situations they encounter. Pray that their efforts will be blessed, saving the lives of people who would otherwise not be helped.
  • Pray for healthcare workers in clinics and other healthcare facilities. Pray for wisdom to give right diagnoses, that their medicine supplies will hold out and that they will receive strength when they feel overwhelmed by fatigue.

External Resources:

Download the Shan Prayer Guide:

30 Days of Prayer for the Shan
Image of medics at work: Free Burma Rangers