BULLETIN

End of CMIRC's Initiative for Mae Tao Clinic's COVID-19 Relief, But The Need Continues


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.

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 infected individuals deemed low risk for developing complications or severe disease. Fortunately, the number of Covid-19 patients under their care has steadily declined in the past month. 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 660 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.

Amazingly, despite the increased strain on the staff at MTC, they realized the need for non-COVID-19 related services for their client population, particularly for maternal and child health services. In August MTC resumed care for expectant migrant women, many of whom would otherwise face multiple challenges in accessing essential maternal and child healthcare. In addition, in order that interruptions to essential child preventive health care be minimized, immunizations for women and children were resumed in August. This is an important development since children born at MTC receive a Thai birth certificate, entitling them to education and health care in Thailand, important rights that would otherwise be denied to stateless people.

In September, MTC resumed adult outpatient services and was designated as a Covid-19 vaccination site for the migrant community.

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 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 CMIRC members and friends have contributed 75,000. Thus, 125,000 baht has already been sent to MTC.