Kayah State (Karenni State) is a state of Myanmar. Situated in eastern Myanmar, it is bounded on the north by Shan State, on the east by Thailand's Mae Hong Son Province, and on the south and west by Kayin State. It lies approximately between 18° 30' and 19° 55' north latitude and between 94°40' and 97° 93' east longitude. The area is 11,670 km2 (4,510 sq mi). Its capital is Loikaw (also spelt Loi-kaw). The estimated population in 1998 was approximately 207,357, according to UNICEF. It is inhabited primarily by the Karenni ethnic group, also known as Red Karen or Kayah, a Sino-Tibetan people.
Karenni ( Kayah )State is located in the eastern part of Myanmar. The relief of Karenni ( Kayah ) State is mountainous with the Dawna Range and the Karen Hills also known as "Karenni-Karen" mountains separated by the Salween River as it flows through Karenni ( Kayah ) State. Balu Chaung, called Nam Pilu in local language, flows from Inle Lake and converges with the Salween in southern Karenni (Kayah) State. Ethnographers classify anywhere from seven to ten ethnic groups (not including ethnic sub-groups) as native to Kayah State. In addition, Shan, Intha, and Bamar live in the north and Pa-O in surrounding hills. Each group is also known by more than one name. Clearly, ethnicity in Kayah State is a complex issue, made more complex by the current political situation. According to the 1983 census conducted by United Nations and the Burmese government, the Kayah composed 56.12%, while Bamar (17.58%), Shan (16.66%), Karen (6.45%), mixed races (2.08%), and other groups formed minorities.
Kayah State has a primarily extraction-based economy. The main crop is rice, mostly irrigated, with other important crops including millet, maize, sesame, groundnut, garlic, and vegetables. Mineral products include alabaster, tin, and tungsten. Valuable woods such as teak and pine were once produced, but the forests have largely been stripped bare by illegal logging authorized by the Tatmadaw (Burmese military). The hydroelectric power plant at Lawpita Falls outside of Loikaw is of strategic importance, as it supplies over 20% of Myanmar's total electrical power. Kayah State has theoretical tourist potential, if the political situation is resolved. The state has rugged mountains, river streams, lakes and waterfalls; however, transport and communication are difficult. As Kayah State is perhaps the most isolated state in Myanmar, it has great difficulties in addressing health concerns. The following is a summary of the public health care system in the state.