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Mae Tao Clinic Report For February

The Mae Tao Clinic/Child Protection Department/Child Development Center is the oldest project of Chiang Mai International Rotary Club. Those interested in the history are invited to read past bulletins and our running story on our website. Also, please visit Mae Tao Clinic’s

Direct from the Mae Tao Clinic

A really cute Holiday Message from Mae Tao Clinic:

January Tour: Rotarians and their families from three clubs from three continents assembled and went to Mae Tao Clinic for the 1 – 3 January Tour. It was great. The first evening we shared a meal at Khao Mao Khao Fang. In fact, due to being in town over the New Years holiday when many places were closed, we ended up having dinner together there two nights in a row. We all agreed, if you must have dinner at the same place two nights in a row, this would be the place.

On Thursday morning we visited CPPCR where we learned about some of the most important Child Protection activities in the area. At this point the believe that approximately 70% of child abuse cases are reported, an improvement over past years. People renting and drugging babies for begging on the border is still an issue. We are reminded not to give to these beggars, no matter how desperate they appear.

We also visited the office of Burma Operations & Ethnic Health System Strengthening Group (EHSSG) and learned about Mae Tao Clinic’s activities inside Myanmar. MTC is one of the primary members of EHSSG. Currently they serve a target population of approximately 837,000 at 296 service sites in 3,463 villages and 64 townships. Last year’s case load was over 288,000. Their challenges include an unsustainable peace in an unstable political situation. Funding is largely not secured, and their health workers are not recognized or accredited in Burma. Still, they do amazing work! On the near horizon for them will be Management Intern Training. More news about that as it develops.

President Elect Jan Pieter Brinkman had an opportunity to present a gift from the Hilversun International Rotary Club to Dr. Cynthia, founder and director of the MTC (above). It is the beginning of what we hope to be a long and beneficial relationship. His club met on 20 January and has decided to further support the Mae Tao Clinic. They are actively looking for an eye doctor who may be able to work at the clinic and they are coordinating with the International School of Hilversun about the possibility of sending students to the CDC.

Dr. Cassim, our Rock Star Tour Guide (left, in front of the Patient House), is such a blessing. He does an amazing job of telling the group the story of the clinic. I’ve been coming to the clinic for over six years and every time I’m with Dr. Cassim I learn something new! Along the way we learned that the immunizations given at Mae Tao Clinic are provided by the Royal Thai Government, and we were reminded that there are three diseases which can manifest almost any symptom. Fans of the TV show "House, M.D." will be aware of sarcoidosis. The other two are systemic lupus erythematosus and tuberculosis.

We were also reminded that when the clinic started there were three main areas of focus: landmine victims, malaria and maternal child health care. Today the clinic has evolved to include health care, training, child protection/education and community outreach. The prosthetics lab whose primary purpose is to support land mine victims will soon move to Myanmar. He made a point of telling us that the Patient House is his favorite feature of the clinic, allowing patients and their families to have a place to stay during treatment.

Shortly after returning to Chiang Mai, I received an email from Dr. Cassim telling me he has decided to seek membership in Rotary when he returns to his homeland later this year. This is a great credit to the Rotarians who have visited MTC!

Conclusions about support going forward will be reported in the next bulletin. Stay Tuned.

January tour group pictured below, with CDC students


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