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World Vision Thailand equips Myanmar migrant workers with COVID-19 prevention knowledge

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1 April 2020 – World Vision Thailand in coordination with Ranong Provincial Public Health office, and a migrant health volunteer has visited a Myanmar migrant worker community to provide knowledge and preventive recommendations to keep away from COVID-19.

There has been a gap of communications around the novel coronavirus outbreak among the migrant workers because all materials are in Thai, making the information challenging for them to understand. Therefore, the translation of the educational materials to Myanmar has significantly caught the migrants’ attention.

Ranong province is one of Thailand’s destinations in which a large number of migrant labours seek economic opportunities. The majority of them, totaling to more than 50,000 workers, are Myanmar nationals, making one-fourth of the Ranong’s entire population. During the COVID-19 outbreak, besides educating and providing a preventive guideline to Thai citizens, getting on the ground where these migrant workers are is a proactive measure to enable them to stay safe and relieved from worries amid the aggravating situation.

The staff of relevant agencies in Ranong realise the importance of COVID-19 preventive actions, for both the Thai population and Myanmar migrant workers alike, as everyone is equally susceptible to the contraction.

“Nobody is exempted to the virus infection. It is crucial that these migrant workers are equipped with proper knowledge and ability to keep themselves, their family members, and

community safe. If any of the locals experience signs of infection, they will be able to report cases to the authorities,” says Suthep Thanachartbunjong, Mueang District Public Health Officer, Ranong Province

Thitiya Samart, a World Vision Thailand project coordinator, Ranong province, gave a rationale behind this field visit that exclusive knowledge dissemination among Thai people alone cannot curb COVID-19 spreading because the nature of Ranong social context may be described as the coexistence of Thai citizens and Myanmar migrants. With World Vision’s available resource of interpreters who have served as migrant health volunteers, this volunteer group has helped pass on knowledge to the Myanmar community.

“The purpose of this field visit was to give the migrants correct information about COVID-19, including personal care and hygiene, face masks, and hand washing. The knowledge has eased these migrant labours’ concern,” says Thu Thu Mon, a Ranong migrant health volunteer.

Ranong province has been targeted as a COVID-19-Free zone. One of the key measures is to have the proactive actions carried out by relevant staff to ensure that more than 50,000 Myanmar migrant workers have a robust capacity to keep themselves safe, just like the Thai community.