Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Mae Tao clinic issues emergency funding appeal

Tuesday, 24 July 2012 12:24 Mizzima News

A cutback in donor funds has forced the Mae Tao Clinic in Mae Sot to reduce its services to patients. The clinic treats up to 110,000 Burmese or migrant workers annually on the Thai-Burma border.

The clinic issued an emergency funding appeal on its website, saying: “We are currently facing a very severe funding shortage of 18 million Thai Baht [US $600,000] and urgently need your support in helping us run our key services until the end of the year.”

Dr. Cynthia Maung, the founder of the Mae Tao Clinic  Photo: maetaoclinic.org

In June, the clinic announced a 20 per cent cut to staff stipends – the average salary is $133 a month.

The cutback may also affect the clinic’s ability to provide dry food rations to about 3,000 unaccompanied children staying in boarding houses. Many organizations serving Burmese outside the country are experiencing funding shortfalls.

To make a donation or for more information, go to http://www.maetaoclinic.org/how-to-help/donate/

Aung Pe, a senior staff member, told Karen News the clinic can not afford to provide some patients with more advanced treatment.

“In past years, we could refer patients who were in need of emergency care or who needed specialist operations,” he said. “But now, we have to prioritize referrals. We won’t refer patients for treatment beyond what we can afford, but we will try to treat them here at the clinic as much as we can.”

According to Mae Tao Clinic’s annual 2011 report, it treated more than 100,000 patients and referred 709  in-patients to Mae Sot Hospital – with 60 per cent of those coming from inside Burma.

The funding shortfall is likely due to the democratic reforms underway in Burma, causing donors to reduce funding to out-of-country programs, and also because of declining economic factors in many countries.

The loss of funding will effect the reproductive health department, the eye department, the child protection program, the out-patient department and the T.B. department, the website said.

The clinic was founded 20 years ago by Dr. Cynthia Maung, who was forced to flee her homeland in 1988. It is funded by a wide range of international government agencies, private groups and individual donors.

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