By Jerry Nelson
At its humble beginning back in the 1980’s The Mae Tao Clinic was a very simple, one room building with only a rice cooker to sterilize instruments. Today Mae Tao Clinic provides health care to over 150,000 displaced people per year.
Did you know that the Mae Tao clinic provides free medical service to Burmese immigrants and displaced persons along the Thai / Myanmar border in Tak province? They see between 300 and 400 patients a day, six days a week! Many travel great distances to be seen at the Mae Tao Clinic, where they can receive quality medical care in a safe environment.
Did you know that many big donors have re-directed their giving to within Myanmar, leaving Dr. Cynthia Maung and her team with horrendous funding shortfalls? While there has been some progress in Burma, many citizens are still ostracized by the government. They continue to come to Mae Tao Clinic because other options are not yet available. The most optimistic predictions indicate that the Mae Tao Clinic will be an absolute necessity for at least the next five years. Most feel the clinic will be needed for at least the next 10 years.
Mae Tao Clinic has expanded its scope of service to three main areas: Health Services, Training and Child Protection Please refer to www.maetaoclinic.org. The things they are accomplishing is truly amazing!
From the CMIRC’s inception, we have continually tried to support the Mae Tao Clinic We realize that as a small club we can’t possibly do all that’s needed. That said, there is much we have done, are doing and will do in the future. We actively seek other Rotary Clubs to help Mae Tao Clinic. Mae Tao Clinic touches on all six areas of Focus.
Peace and Conflict/Resolution: Their work with indigenous hill tribe and other ethnic minorities makes a difference in conflict resolution within Myanmar and along the border in Thailand. The medical training and health programs inside Burma also help to reduce tensions. Mae Tao Clinic’s birth registration program allows babies the opportunity to flourish by giving them the beginnings of opportunities to be educated and work in Thailand, Myanmar.
Disease Prevention and Treatment: This is Mae Tao Clinic’s original and still primary area of focus. They have programs for the prevention and treatment of dengue fever, malaria and much more.
Water and Sanitation: As their community based training and treatment expands Mae Tao Clinic must deal with water and sanitation issues in poor villages and schools on both sides of the Thai / Burma border.
Maternal and Child Health: This is one of the largest areas of focus for the Mae Tao Clinic. The new born babies at Mae Tao Clinic have a much lower morbidity rate than babies born in Burma.
Basic Education and Literacy: Mae Tao Clinic focuses on the child. Their Child Development Center can take as many as 1,000 migrant children.