The Mae Tao Clinic – Thai-Burma Border

Linked with our presentation of Cynthia Maung – Burma.

Over the years the Mae Tao Clinic has grown from a small house serving Burmese pro-democracy students fleeing the 1988 crackdown to a multispecialty center providing free health care for refugees, Burmese migrant workers and others crossing the border from Burma into Thailand.

Though exact numbers are difficult because of the fluidity of its patient population, the Clinic serves a target population of around150,000 on the Thai-Burma border. Its staff of 5 physicians, 80 health care workers, 40 trainees and 40 support staff provide comprehensive health services including inpatient and outpatient medicine, trauma care, blood transfusion, reproductive health, child health, eye care, and prosthetics for landmine survivors.

Each year the Clinic trains a new class of medics to serve people throughout the border region.

Services beyond Mae Sot: The Mae Tao Clinic’s reach extends far beyond its base in Mae Sot. It supports mobile clinics serving Burma’s internally displaced persons (IDP). The Clinic’s community service programs include a home at Umphium Mae refugee camp for unaccompanied children.

The Clinic also supports schools and boarding houses that serve the families of local migrant workers and our staff. In addition it sponsors women’s organizations, health education and community awareness events at refugee camps.

Migration and displacement: Civil war and human rights abuses inside Burma continue to cause internal displacement and refugee migration. Burma’s failing economy forces migrant workers to enter Thailand illegally to seek work. Police action against these illegal immigrants often disrupts patient access to the Clinic. (See the rest on

There are thousands of refugees, mostly of the Karen ethnic group of Burma, living in camps along the mosquito-infested jungles near Mae Sot. Hundreds of refugees are seen daily at the clinic. Malaria is a common affliction that is treated at the clinic, which also devotes its efforts to malaria research.

The clinic is staffed primarily by volunteers and, occasionally, Western trained physicians who are able to spend a few weeks or months in residence. Dr. Cynthia’s clinic provides many levels of medical services including Out Patient and In Patient departments, educations of scores of medics each year, a Reproductive Health Care and Family Planning Clinic, pre- and postnatal care and education programs aimed at disease prevention, particularly for HIV/AIDS.

Dr. Cynthia’s needs are many: medicines, medical supplies and instruments, food to feed the hundreds of patients who visit her clinic each week, including severely malnourished children. (Read more on Burma Border Projects).

Read also:

The Burma Children Medical Found;

Planet Care;

Clear Path International;


Asian HR Commission, urgent appeals program;

Project Umbrella

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