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Mae Tao Clinic – Providing quality care at the height of the pandemic

Aug 31, 2021

Each year, the Mae Tao Clinic provides maternal and child health, chronic and infectious disease management and trauma care for many thousands of refugees and migrant workers who live along the Thai-Myanmar border. Without the Mae Tao Clinic, patients would otherwise go without treatment or risk catastrophic debt to pay for it. Located on the Thai side of the Thai-Myanmar border, the Mae Tao Clinic was established in 1989 by Dr Cynthia Maung, to provide health care for the large numbers of people seeking refuge from conflict and poverty in Myanmar.

As Myanmar’s generals push the country toward civil war, displacing large numbers of civilians in the context of a global health crisis, the Mae Tao Clinic remains a life line for the mostly Karen refugees seeking shelter and safety in Thailand along the border today. With almost 100,000 medical consultations, each year the Clinic provides over 7,000 general hospital admissions, about 1,500 births, cares for over 400 babies with severe malnutrition and prevents ongoing transmission of tuberculosis and HIV through early detection and facilitation of access to treatment for just over 5,000 patients.

Each year, the Mae Tao Clinic provides maternal and child health, chronic and infectious disease management and trauma care for many thousands of refugees and migrant workers who live along the Thai-Myanmar border. Without the Mae Tao Clinic, patients would otherwise go without treatment or risk catastrophic debt to pay for it. Located on the Thai side of the Thai-Myanmar border, the Mae Tao Clinic was established in 1989 by Dr Cynthia Maung, to provide health care for the large numbers of people seeking refuge from conflict and poverty in Myanmar.  As Myanmar’s generals push the country toward civil war, displacing large numbers of civilians in the context of a global health crisis, the Mae Tao Clinic remains a life line for the mostly Karen refugees seeking shelter and safety in Thailand along the border today. With almost 100,000 medical consultations, each year the Clinic provides over 7,000 general hospital admissions, about 1,500 births, cares for over 400 babies with severe malnutrition and prevents ongoing transmission of tuberculosis and HIV through early detection and facilitation of access to treatment for just over 5,000 patients.

In the front line – COVID 19 crisis along the Thai Burma Border

In the context of COVID 19 and increasing pressure on resources along the border, MTC’s role in providing quality care has been critical.

After a long period with relatively few cases, in June, Mae Sot experienced a sudden wave of COVID 19 infections – jumping from 77 cases to 455 in a single day and increasing rapidly. With over 2,200 individuals requiring medical attention in the province, Mae Thao Clinic became an authorised COVID 19 isolation centre under the supervision of the District General Hospital, providing care for 70 patients deemed low risk for complications. As the COVID-19 cases rapidly increased in the area, within a matter of weeks, 109 MTC staff tested positive for COVID-19, forcing the clinic to suspend its primary healthcare services – instead, becoming a temporary isolation facility for 391 COVID-19 positive patients.

With Mae Tao Clinics care and support, 203 patients have already recovered and the clinic plans to resume its child delivery service as soon as possible.

During this period, and throughout the crisis, Mae Tao Clinic provides telephone advice and referrals to patients in English, Burmese, Karen and Thai languages and also coordinates humanitarian assistance through donations of food, medical supplies and hygiene kits.

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The Global Justice Organisation of the Australian Union Movement

The work of Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA relies on the efforts of thousands of Australian unionists and internationalists who raise funds, volunteer, and take action to build solidarity across borders. 

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