After spending around a week at the clinic it was clear to me how vital the clinic is, not just the people of Mae Sot, but to the people of Myanmar aswell. Whilst in Myanmar I met people all over the country who held Dr Cynthia in the highest of respect. The clinic provides healthcare to over 110,000 people each year and it is still growing each year. Many of the patients cross the border for treatment because they are unable to access healthcare in Myanmar. In my short time at the clinic, I can vouch for the incredible dedication that the staff at Mae Tao Clinic have for their patients and their patients welfare. Not only does the clinic provide healthcare it also funds other projects and organisations that provide other essential services around the Mae Sot area. However with the recent ‘reforms’ in Myanmar many funding sources have dried up leaving the clinic with a huge funding gap which is threatening the healthcare of hundreds of thousands of people. I would really appreciate if you could spend a couple of minutes reading their recent press release below.
“We are currently facing a very severe funding shortage of 18 million Thai Baht (US $600,000) and urgently need your support in helping us run our key services until the end of the year.Despite the recent changes in Burma, we have yet to see a fall in patient numbers or a decrease in the number of children seeking protection and education. The continuing need for vital health and education services for the border community is evident, but it is becoming more of a struggle to raise the funds needed to continue our activities. We have not received enough donations to cover our funding needs in 2012, which will unfortunately lead to cuts in staff and services unless we receive further support. In June, just days before World Refugee Day, the clinic held a series of emergency meetings to decide on measures that would minimise the funding shortfall. It was agreed that, effective immediately, staff would receive a 20% cut to their stipend. This will be very hard for everyone when our staff’s average salary is only 4000 baht (approximately US$133) per month. We will also have to reduce the number of staff at Mae Tao Clinic, which is also very distressing; Mae Tao Clinic is not just a workplace for our staff, it is also a home. 95% of our staff are displaced people from Burma. We are also going to have to reduce our services; this may include any non-essential services and any non-emergency referrals. We are currently also very worried that we will be unable to continue providing dry food rations to the 3,000 unaccompanied children staying in boarding houses. If there were genuine change in Burma, we would see fewer patients, since Burmese government hospitals would be fully equipped to deal with our caseload and provide affordable health services. We would no longer have such large numbers of unaccompanied children, separated from their families in order to access education or to escape from the threats of forced labour. Until the day there is genuine peace in Burma and the government can provide quality health and education to all of its people, Mae Tao Clinic will continue serve those in need. But we really need more support to do this. To make a donation, please visit our donate page. Please also pass this urgent message on to your friends and family.”