Funding cuts to Burma related groups working on the Thai-Burma border have resulted in 20% salary reduction for health workers at Mae Tao Clinic. The Clinic has run a free service for migrant, refugee and people from Burma for 28 years.
Mae Tao clinic’s deputy-managing director Naw Eh Ni said that starting from the 3rd of October, staff salaries will be reduced by 20 %, due to a lack of funding.
People from Burma, refugees and migrants along the Thai-Burma border who have relied on Mae Tao Clinic for free healthcare are now expected to pay for some services. Karen News is led to understand that people will have to pay for some services, while some services may be cut due to the funding crisis facing the Clinic.
Naw Eh Ni told Karen News, “We will receive international support only until 2018. Salaries are being reduced now for long-term financial operations in order to run the clinic in the future. All staff members have agreed to the decision.”
Naw Eh Ni said that if the clinic is shut down because of financial problems, all the patients coming from Thailand and Burma will face difficulties. Therefore, the Clinic decided to reduce staff salaries for the sake of its long-term operations.
A Clinic official said that the salary reductions will take effect from October 2017 to March 2018. While reductions will start at 20 %, if even more funding is lost, salaries could be reduced by as much as 50%.
One senior staff member at the clinic told Karen News, “Because of this situation, there are people in my department who have resigned due to living difficulties. For now, I can still work for the Clinic. But, if the situation gets worse, I might have to look for another job.”
Mae Tao Clinic has about 500 staff members, with salaries ranging from 4,000 to 12,000 baht a month. The staff salaries have been cut in previous years due to financial difficulties.
Led by Dr. Cynthia Maung, Mae Tao Clinic was established in 1989 to provide free health services to refugees and migrants from Burma. They currently see about 300 patients a day.
Salaries of the staff from the Children Development Center High School, that was opened in conjunction with the clinic, will be reduced by 20% as well, according to a school official.