BULLETIN

An Appeal on Behalf of Hard-Hit Mae Tao Clinic


Support of Mao Tao Clinic, (MTC) in Mae Sot, Tak Province next to the border with Myanmar/Burma, was one of the first projects of Chiang Mai International Rotary Club (CMIRC). This Community-based Organization serves a population of approximately 200,000 people who shelter along both sides of the border, providing primary health care and other social services to this marginalized population.

Both Thailand and Burma are currently experiencing severe epidemics of COVID-19, driven especially by new variants including the highly transmissible delta variant. Tak Province of Thailand, bordering Burma, is currently seeing relatively high numbers of cases daily. The current wave of COVID-19 in Mae Sot began in late June. On June 27th, large outbreaks were detected at several factories in the area. On June 27th alone, 77 cases were logged, followed by 455 the following day, resulting in sudden, severe strains on the health system to identify, isolate and treat infected individuals. Cases have continued to increase since then on a daily basis. On Thursday, July 29 th, there were 163 new cases diagnosed in Tak, with over 150 of those in Mae Sot, home to the clinic, and nearby districts of Phop Phra, Mae Ramat, and Tha Song Yang. There are currently over 2,200 individuals in treatment in Tak Province for COVID-19, in hospitals, field hospitals, or other isolation facilities, amongst a total of 4,289 cases reported in the province since April 1st, 2021. In order to quickly respond to the crisis, on June 28th, the Mae Tao Clinic became an official field hospital for the Mae Sot public health system, providing care for between 60-70 infected individuals deemed low risk for developing complications or severe disease. While MTC staff members are responsible for providing daily care, they work in partnership with medical staff of the Mae Sot Hospital and other Thai public health entities, closely monitoring patients for evidence of clinical deterioration and facilitating timely referrals if necessary. Since the beginning of the current wave in Mae Sot, the Mae Tao Clinic has served approximately 325 patients with COVID-19 who were referred from Mae Sot Hospital, are staff from MTC and partner organizations or are residents of the surrounding communities. On July 9 th, our first staff member was found to be infected with COVID-19. This prompted the clinic, working in conjunction with local health partners, to pursue aggressive contact tracing and screen all members of the staff, along with household contacts, nearby community members, and others with possible exposure. As a precaution, starting on July 15th, most clinical services at the clinic were suspended indefinitely in order to protect the health and safety of our staff members, their families, and all the communities we serve. This pause was also to allow us to efficiently focus our efforts on identifying and taking care of infected members of the extended MTC family and the community." Note: The MTC document has a table showing testing of 734 people of the listed groups, with 25% (182) positive. The hardest hit were "household contacts" presumably of staff, patients and the community with 46% positive. "During this time, all clinical services remain closed. Please refer to the Facebook pages of the Mae Tao Clinic (in English and Burmese), which will frequently be updated to incorporate the most up-to-date information as it becomes available, particularly during this current unpredictable situation. The MTC is currently also unable to provide testing and vaccinations for COVID-19, which are currently all handled through the Thai health system. If you think you have been exposed and would like testing, please contact the Mae Sot Hospital call center Tel. 065-461-1120 ........" The document goes on to list the types of items needed for those who wish to donate goods, bank accounts, and who to contact for additional information. To provide perspective, in general, in Thailand once someone tests positive for Covid, even if they do not have symptoms, they are required to quarantine in a "field hospital" set up to manage patients who have low to medium symptoms. This is to prevent them from returning to their homes, usually crowded multi-generational households where they can infect the elderly. This explains why the "household contact" category had such a high infection rate; presumably it has a high proportion of older people. However, the Thai government does not routinely provide much support such as food, toiletries, bedding, etc to field hospitals, especially those serving minorities, migrants and aliens. Thus Mae Tao Clinic very much needs our assistance at this time. Recently, the Board of CMIRC voted to contribute 50,000 baht from the General Fund of the club to MTC and members have contributed 32,000. Thus, 82,000 has already been sent to MTC. Another 40,000 baht is promised from members and will be transferred as soon as it arrives. We hope that you, the members, friends and supporters of CMIRC can also help. If you'd like to donate through CMIRC please find our banking details at the bottom of this page on our website. Your donation will be sent to MTC as soon as it arrives. Please send an email to treasurer@cmirotary.org when you donate so I can look for your deposit. If you are overseas and wish to donate using a credit card and/or receive a tax deduction, please consult