Monday, 11 July 2011

Mae Tao Clinic

Wow well this amazing facility does not fail to impress and shock even on a second visit!
In February 1989 Dr Cynthia Maung set up a makeshift medical clinic 5 months after fleeing a brutal military crackdown in Burma. All of the clinic's medical instruments fitted into the bag that Dr Cynthia had thrown over her shoulder during her 10 day trek to escape Burma.
Today the clinic is a comprehensive community health centre with more than 1000 graduates working in clinics, schools, villages and camps along the Thai-Burma border. The clinic has a rising case load of over 90,000 patients a year many coming from the hills of Burma to receive free health care.
Seeing the range of facilities here is impressive from counselling, acupuncture, prosthetics, optometry, dentistry, paediatric ward, maternity ward, surgical ward, patient library, blood donation service, extensive training programmes to name but a few. It is no wonder people travel dangerous routes to receive the treatment they so need and deserve. Treatments we take for granted and often criticise about on the NHS.
I suppose the shocking aspects are the lack of "sterile" environments. As you walk around the clinic you see dried blood on the concrete floors. Wards have little privacy with patients being on full view of each other as they receive treatment. The matter fact way they spoke about potentially fatal injuries and diseases which we in reality we may never have to deal with e.g. landmines, dengue, malaria.
You can't help coming away from an experience such as today without having an immense feeling of guilt. They are constantly striving to improve this facility for the Burmese people in this and the surrounding community. The care a patient receives here makes a massive impact on their life and for this reason alone the clinic will continue to be the hub of this community. It has very close ties with our partnership school, CDC.  We both felt very privileged to be given time to see round the clinic by a very busy but knowledgeable member of staff - thank you. Thank you to Eh Thwa, the training team manager for arranging this visit for us.


  1. Very inspiring indeed. Trisha. X

  2. The Mae Tao clinic is an amazing place. The people who work there are such inspirational people. I bet you wish you had longer to be in Mae Sot.
    I reckon the red stuff on the floor is beetlenut spit though. It's everywhere is Mae Sot from when people chew beetlenut and spit it on the street.

    louise x

  3. You sure Louise? - def looked like blood to us - but we hope it was beetlenut. We have seen the spit around Mae Sot. That is what makes their teeth dark isn't it?? Kat