The Burma Children Medical Fund organized and took a team of health specialists from Mae Tao Clinic, located in the Thai border town of Mae Sot and from Lampang Hospital, northern Thailand to Hpa-an in eastern Burma. The health specialists were in Hpa-an to do echocardiogram screenings on children and adults with heart problems.
Ms Thornton said that the echocardiogram screening would not have been possible without the support of the An Nan Da Myint Tar Clinic in Hpa-an. The Clinic runs a free health service for people and is open three times a week.
“An Nan Da Myint Tar Clinic organise emergency patients transfers to Yangon and in in partnership with BCMF to Thailand for specialist care. The An Nan Da Myint Tar medics and staff volunteer their time. With a roster of doctors who volunteer their time each weekend.”
Ms Thornton explained that funding for the Clinic came from donations or from the Abbot Danda Wa Thay Hta, who set-up and continues to run the An Nan Da Myint Tar Clinic. Ms Thornton said BCMF would continue to work with the Clinic.
“This will help patients who can’t travel to Thailand for healthcare.”
The BCMF program director Kanchana Thornton explained to Karen News that the echocardiogram screenings allows doctors to locate problems in patients with heart conditions early.
“Our team screened 142 patients and we registered 22 for cardiac surgery. Patients travelled in from as far as Rakhine state, Naypyitaw, Yangon, Mandalay and Magywae Division.”
Ms Thornton said that 11 patients will be transferred to Yangon for heart surgery.
“It will be a joint effort by Thai, Burmese and Belgium cardiac surgeons. Since health care is not free in Burma, the cost of equipment and medicine for the health care like this is beyond the means of most Burmese people.”
The Burma Children Medical Fund is trying to raise donations to cover the cost of the surgery. Ms Thornton paid tribute to the surgeons for giving their time and expertise freely and to Pinlon Hospital in Yangon. “
BCMF will have to look for funding to help cover some of the medical costs. The others 11 patients will be transferred to Thailand for their heart surgeries. The cost of their surgery with be supported by BCMF and the Thai based charity, Child Dreams.
Most of the patients will be operated on at Lampang Hospital.” Ms Thornton while in Burma a team from Mae Tao Clinic, also known as Dr Cynthia’s Clinic, ran a wheelchair training and fitting workshop in Mawlamyine for health workers from four healthcare facilities, in Mon and Karen states, that are supporting children with mental and physical disabilities.
“40 wheelchairs were given to those healthcare facilities. We have to thank Wheelchairs for kids from Perth in Western Australia for their generosity in donating the wheelchairs. These chairs are vital for these children. It helps the family to care for their child with a disability and enables the family to take the child out into the community. It allows the children to attend school and reduces their
isolation from the community.”