If you’re poor and sick, you are usually bound to a life of further suffering unless a miracle happens. In Mae Sot, that miracle comes in the form of the Mae Tao free Clinic. The clinic serves those who have fled persecution, those who are marginalised, abandoned, in abject poverty and the displaced Karen villagers.
Thanks to NOK Air, we were able to fly up to Mae Sot along with boxes of donated items for children in the hillside displaced Karen communities in Maeramat. Before we embarked to our actual project of installing the self-sustaining aquaponics and solar energy system for one of these communities in Maeramat, we made a brief stopover at the Mae Tao Free Clinic. Here, we met Dr Thwa and technician Muni to discuss a future collaboration where we will help connect and get diagnostic test kits or supplies for them.
The Clinic which really operates like a hospital with an outpatient, inpatient services, surgical, gynaecological, dental, optical and pediatric departments, sees about 400 patients daily. Fifty percent of the people come from across the border in Myanmar while the rest are living in Thailand.
The spartan conditions of wooden beds with no luxury of a mattress, save a plastic mat, show the austere budget the clinic has to work by as there is no charge for any services or medication. Staff are all volunteers or medical students.
Their most urgent need is for blankets and sleeping mats. With the prolonged cold now, this is even more a necessity. There is never enough as patients often take home the blankets they use, and the hospital lets them do this, as they are not able to launder all the blankets from surgeries or inpatients.
There is also the need for more soap and cleaning supplies. If you would like to help with any of these, drop us a line and we will connect you.
This was an eye-opening visit which we hope will help in creating a greater awareness of the incredible need for the healthcare of the displaced communities in Mae Sot and surrounding regions.