Mae Tao Clinic
In 1989, a few months after leaving Myanmar, Dr. Cynthia Maung and a small group of students opened a makeshift medical clinic in a rickety wooden house on the dusty outskirts of Mae Sot, Thailand. The clinic had virtually no supplies, no money, no one who spoke Thai and (except for Dr. Cynthia) no staff formally trained in medicine.
Two decades later, the Mae Tao Clinic (MTC) has grown into a comprehensive community health center and a hub for regional health training with more than 1,000 graduates serving clinics, schools, villages, factories, camps and slums along both sides of the Thai-Myanmar border. In many remote areas inside Myanmar, the clinic’s former students have become the only sources of medical care.
The staff treats everything from minor maladies to malaria, tuberculosis (TB), HIV/AIDS, malnutrition, pneumonia, acute diarrheal diseases, diabetes, epilepsy, thyroid disease, cancer and mental illness. The clinic’s medics are trained in surgery, reproductive health (including labor and delivery), eye health, dental health, prosthetics, pediatrics, lab services, and social work.
Southeast Myanmar is gradually emerging from more than six decades of civil war and is one of the most landmine-contaminated regions in the world. Under their Trauma and Emergency Management Program (TEMP), the Karen Department of Health and Welfare (KDHW) operates teams of community-based, mobile 'backpack' medics who provide emergency medical support for more than 75,000 people in this region. These medic teams have demonstrated remarkable success in providing lifesaving health care in this low-resource context.
Funds donated to this project will help to train, equip and support these medic teams. Through a longstanding partnership with experienced Emergency Medicine physicians in the United States, the KDHW holds an annual training workshop for their backpack medics. Held every year since 2000, the workshops cover a wide range of key trauma and emergency management topics including obstetric and pediatric emergencies, bleeding management, suturing, fractures, dislocations and splinting, shock and field surgery practice. Over the years, the training content has been honed to suit the mobile, low-resource context that these medics operate in, and updated to meet the changing context and needs. Project funds also help to provide the medical supplies and equipment that the medics need to carry out their work.