Mae Tao Clinic - Today & Moving Forward

By Jerry Nelson

Like every health care facility, the Mae Tao Clinic is having to take extra precautions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Last month, they notified the world that visitors are advised to postpone their trips to Mae Tao Clinic. We have stayed in close contact by electronic means. Patient care continues but the numbers are down due to travel restrictions. While it’s sad that many people who need medical attention may not be able to receive it, many are able to come to the clinic for needed medical attention. Health as a Human Right is a recurring theme at Mae Tao Clinic.

Help Us Help Them 

The Mae Tao Clinic is faced with increased financial pressure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They have started a fundraising campaign which allows all of us to help.  Please consider helping the Mae Tao Clinic so they can help the communities they serve. 

Just go to https://maetaoclinic.org/how-to-help/donate/ where you will find several easy ways to make a difference!   

Help Wanted. No make that HELP NEEDED! 

Mae Tao Clinic (MTC) is a marvelous organization. Founder Dr. Cynthia Maung fled Burma after the student revolution in 1989 and set up the clinic in Mae Sot, Tak, Thailand.  Read her story! What started out as a hut where they used a rice cooker to sterilize instruments has evolved into much more than a clinic.  MTC is a regional hospital, training and cultural center. They have always focused on children.  

MTC has been instrumental in birth registration along the border, has an excellent child protection department and a school with a capacity of 1,000 students; pre-school through grade 12, plus a strong program that prepares students to take the American General Education Development Test (GED). I ask you to spend some time on their website.  You may notice the rotating banner with the moving words “Without Your Help, We Can’t Help”!   Monthly CMIRC bulletins contain articles about Mae Tao Clinic. You may also want to read the historical Mae Tao Clinic article by CMIRC.      

Some of our success stories include: 

Awareness tours. Magical things happen when people walk the ground at the Mae Tao Clinic.  My favorite story is about a Rotarian who offered to sponsor a pre-GED student through her university education in India!  See “Mae Tao Clinic Tour in November”.   

Referrals: Through awareness tours, individual passion and mailings, we have been able to make some great referrals to MTC, including a Rotary Club in the Netherlands that is currently working on finding ophthalmologist(s) to support the clinic. 

Fundraising campaigns: “A Night of Love” raised 97,500 baht as well as making Mae Tao Clinic more aware of BABSEACLE and vice versa. It was an amazing evening! Our most recent online campaign “100,000 in 100 days” raised over 140,000 baht!   

Child Protection Training Program: CMIRC funded an in-depth Child Protection Training Program.

Fresh Drinking Water: We have funded some fifteen drinking water tanks around the Mae Tao Clinic campus. Patients and their families deeply appreciate clean water at no cost to them. 

Pre-GED program: CMIRC is proud to support the Child Development Center’s Pre-GED program. 

PDG Anurak Napawan, who lives in Lampang, invited our October 2019 tour to stop by his place and pick up donations for the children supported by MTC/Child Protection Department. He has promised repeat donations!  

Challenges:  Mae Tao Clinic is likely the most challenging project within CMIRC. Please know:  Mae Tao Clinic is in Mae Sot on the Thai border.  By car/van it is over five hours away.  The bus takes over six hours one way. Currently there are no direct flights from Chiang Mai. Most of the CMIRC members would prefer their time, effort and money went to projects here in Chiang Mai.  

Prejudice is a fact! Many people choose not to help the migrant population. Some say they must fend for themselves; others exploit them. 

MTC Budget:  MTC is ALWAYS short of funding. The situation is exacerbated by many major donors, both government and private, having made a political decision to give their money to organizations inside Myanmar rather than on the Thai side of the border.  At MTC, today’s priority will depend on recent donations and their specified use. This month the priority is Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). The COVID-19 situation was a shock to all, but MTC seems to be handling it better than most.  If that is true, I credit their experience in rapid adjustment.  

The Rules Change: Passport, visa, work permit, education and health care rules all change constantly!     

MUST BE FLEXIBLE!   No matter what, your schedule will change!  The rule seems to be that the more people you have in tow, the more things will change on the fly!   “You Cannot Adjust the Wind, but You Can and Must Adjust Your Sails”.  This was my opening comment at my first meeting as President of CMIRC. 😉      

Dry Food Program:  Thus far, we have been unable to provide any direct support to the MTC/CDC dry food program.  

Global Grant:  So far, we have not been able to do a project funded by a Rotary Global Grant.  

IMMEDIATE HELP NEEDED!   Specifically:  

1.  Clinical Consultant – Learn more at 


2.  Support current MTC Fundraising Campaign (see “Help Us Help Them” above). 

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