Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Gov’t peacemaker revisits Mae Tao Clinic with wife


Tuesday, 07 August 2012 14:27 Mizzima News   

Burmese peace negotiator Railroad Minister Aung Min and his wife, Dr. Wai Wai Tha, and other Burmese health workers made a follow-up visit to the Mae Tao Clinic in Mae Sot, Thailand, on Monday to meet with its founder Dr. Cynthia Maung.

Burmese Immigration Minister Khin Yee, Dr. Cynthia Maung, Railway Minister Aung Min and peacemaker committee member Hla Maung Shwe at the Mae Tao Clinic in the border town of Mae Sot, Thailand, on June 27, 2012. Photo: Mizzima 

A senior staff member at Mae Tao Clinic who asked not to be named told Karen News that a discussion included the referral of emergency patients, recognition of health workers on the border region and citizenship of Burmese children who were registered at birth at the clinic.

A clinic worker said that Dr. Wai Wai Tha, the minister’s wife, donated US$ 3,000 to the clinic.

Minister Aung Min had previously visited the clinic and donated $5,000.

The border-based clinic, which serves patients from both Burma and Thailand, is currently holding a fund-raising campaign in light of a budget shortfall of around US$ 600,000 this year because of a drop in donor funding.

The clinic’s 2011 report said it served 117,000 patients – mainly migrant workers and refugees from Burma. It delivered 3,000 babies compared with 1,200 babies born in the much larger Myawaddy Hospital located across the border in Burma.

Accompanying Aung Min on the visit were Dr. Saw Kalaw Kho of Mandalay University, and Dr. Khin Maung Myint and Dr. Zin Latt Maung of Myawaddy Hospital.

An editorial in the June edition of the medical journal The Lancet said that in Burma in 2008, the expenditure on healthcare was US$12 per person, far below the $60 per person recommended by the World Health Organization for low-income countries.

Although the Burmese national health budget was increased fourfold in 2012/2013, most of the budget will be for salaries, according to reports. Healthcare attracts less than 3 per cent of overall expenditure and is dwarfed by the military budget, said the editorial.

Mizzima reported that in June the clinic announced a 20 per cent cut in staff stipends – the average salary is $133 a month.

The budget shortfall may also affect the clinic’s ability to provide dry food rations to about 3,000 unaccompanied children staying in boarding houses.

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

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