Health for all, for the Karen by the Karen is the mission of KDHW. The Karen Department of Health and Welfare (KDHW) was established in 1956 and has looked after the health of the Karen people. The organization was established to address the complete lack of health care resources in Karen State, the result of years of military aggression. For several decades, the successive Burmese governments have deprived ethnic minorities of basic health and human services. The situation in Karen State worsened following the infamous four cuts policy that was implemented in 1974.
Today, KDHW is responsible for the physical and mental health of people living in Karen State, with a particular focus on approximately 100,000 internally displaced people. The main aim of KDHW is to provide for the health of everyone through community-based health care.
To provide essential drugs and medical supplies
To treat local common diseases and minor injuries
To decrease morbidity and mortality due to common diseases
To deliver health information and education to the people
To promote community responsibility and participation in health care work
To promote community participation in management of emergency health situations
To develop community awareness regarding health
Since 2004, KDHW, with technical support from GHAP, has conducted Health Impact Surveys. The surveys provide a broad picture of morbidity rates, mortality rates, and human rights violations affecting health. The KDHW can use the data to track changes in the health situation inside Karen State over time.