Clinic’s workload doubles as funding shrinks

According to Mae Tao Clinic medical staff, seasonal illness amongst children on the Thailand-Burma border coming to the clinic for help has more than doubled since last month.

Naw May Soe, the child health coordinator at the Mae Tao Clinic said that in June, 40 children came to their department seeking treatment, in the first two weeks of July staff had already treated 80.

“Most of the children coming here had the flu, malaria, and diarrhea all are infectious and are easy to spread.”

Clinic records indicates that it is mainly children under 12 who are coming to the Clinic with malaria, flu, and diarrhea and it is children under the age of five who are presenting mainly with respiratory infections.

Ma Mya Aye, from the border town of Myawaddy, told Karen News that she came to the Clinic to get treatment for her son, aged seven, who suffers from asthma and was complaining of pain and swelling in his joints.

“Its good we can have free medical treatment here. I just need to spend money on my travel expenses. I really thank Dr. Cynthia Maung and all staff here at the clinic for helping us.”

The Mae Tao Clinic 2011 report documents that 8087 children came to the Child Health out-patients with respiratory infections, 1,155 with diarrhea, 823 pneumonia cases, 330 malaria cases and 240 children with asthma.

According to Naw May Soe, the clinic provides treatment to migrant workers and people from Burma who are in need health care. More serious cases who come to the Clinic for help are referred to Mae Sot Hospital or sent to regional hospitals.

The 2011 Mae Tao Clinic’s report estimates that the School Health Unit gave out “de-worming medicine and vitamin A to 14,594 children under the age of 12 in 74 schools along the border.”

Naw May Soe confirmed that the Clinic is facing severe funding cuts to their budget and its staff have taken a wage cut to help offset the problem.

International humanitarian organisations say Burma’s health care system is worn-out due to years of mis-management and a lack of financial support.

Mae Tao Clinic’s founder, Dr Cynthia Maung, has been reported as saying that it will take years for the health care infrastructure in Burma to be capable of dealing with the demand. Meanwhile Dr Cynthia says her Clinic will continue to treat people in need. In 2011 the Mae Tao Clinic treated as many 150,904 cases who came for treatment.

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