Do you know how many kilometers separate Turin, our Italian headquarter, from Kawthang, the city in southern Myanmar where MedAcross operates? They are exactly 9,233.47 km and it is the journey that Dr. Luca Cordero has made to reach the medical staff of MedAcross in Myanmar.
Luca Cordero di Montezemolo is the president of the Scientific Committee of MedAcross and is a professor of Pediatrics at the University of Turin. He made this long journey to take a close look at the daily work of our new Burmese doctors: Thin Thin and Hsu Nandar.
Here are the first impressions of Doctor Luca: "I arrived yesterday and the time zone makes the alarm even more difficult. Today I leave with the Mobile Clinic to reach the village of Lone Phaw, on the border with Thailand, the journey is long and the day starts at half past six in the morning. Our logistician, Htin Lin, drives the pick up where we have equipped the Mobile Clinic. After just over an hour's journey on the main road, we turn towards the dirt road that leads to the plantations. Any other smaller vehicle would struggle to travel the road. Despite the jolts, the mood is cheerful: the nurses and doctors talk and hum along the way, making the two-hour off-road journey to reach Lone Phaw very pleasant . When we arrive there are already about thirty patients waiting for us. We set up the waiting room under a canopy by the river that separates us from Thailand and we have all the medical material to start the visits. The doctors and nurses divide the tasks so that they can visit all the patients, who have increased in the meantime. The visits take all day and I am pleased to note that the two doctors, despite their young age, have excellent skills in managing patients. They are careful in understanding the malaise of the patient they face and in providing adequate care." The inhabitants of Lone Phaw live nearby plantations and cannot afford to buy the medicines they need. They live in places so remote that the close pharmacy is far 3/4 hours drive (imagine you have to walk 80 km to buy an antibiotic!). When we visit chronic patients in the Mobile Clinic, we provide them with the treatment that can last until we return, which occurs after about a month. Insulin for diabetics is critical, but the costs of sustaining these treatments are our biggest challenge. "
The work of our medical staff in Myanmar is not easy, every day the doctors and nurses work to visit children with malnutrition problems and to recognize respiratory or infectious diseases. This is way we need to keep working on their specialistic knowledge, in order they're prepared to treat every needy patient.
In September MedAcross completed the feasibility study in preparation of Mobile Clinic program extension that will provides for:
- empowerment of health services in the area of Aung Bar, in the north of the Kawthaung District and in the heart of oil palm plantations;
- activation of health services in the area of the natural park of Lampi trought Boat Clinic;
- implementation of a health promotion program aimed at students of 10 schools adjacent to the sites visited by the Mobile Clinic program.
The project also involves capacity building activities addressed to the operators of the Rural Health Center (R.H.C.), 10 basic facilities dedicated to child delivery, pregnancies assistance, vaccinations and first aid, and the strengthening of the services offered by the Mobile Clinic program.
Thanks to this program exthension, over 17.000 people will be directly treated as patients or involved in the education and training acritivties.
On Saturday 25 May 2019, Medacross' team went on a mission to Y-Den Village, 45 miles from Kawtahung. Despite the distance is the same as with Taiwan palm oil plantation and Nam-Tom Village, it takes much longer to reach Y-Den. About 4 and a half hours for the outward journey and 4 hours for the return journey. After an hour's journey by the main road, the remaining route winds through palm oil plantations. The speed cannot be high given the road, weather conditions and also many trucks and workers occupy the roads. Once in the village, we settled in a newly built school with a large garden outside. The patients were many, over 120, but we were able to register and visit all of them. Lunch break we ate in the village chief's house. Inside the house there is a small pharmacy where the owner does everything possible to assist people for free. Once a month the owner goes to Kawthaung to supply the pharmacy with the money obtained from the offers of the villagers.
The Y-Den mission has brought together several villages: TZK, Ever Green, Num Tung, Aung Thar Yar, Aye Mya Thar Yar, Aye Mya Minglar and Myaing Thar Yar.
The total number of villages and plantations served is now 12, with over 2000 patients.
we are happy to announce that, with the help of hundreds of small and big donors like you, Medacross had been able to donate a new Mobile Clinic vehicle that will allow our medical staff to visit rural villages and plantations 6 days/week.
Up to now, we are already treating more than 2.000 patients. After this achievement, Medacross will guarantee free medical services and medicines to over 5.000 people!
Everyday we dedicate our work to all the vulnerable children and families beliving in us to ensure better living conditions for the women and men of tomorrow.
But we are just at the beginning and there is still so much to do.
My name is Rain Soe, I almost have two years and I was born in a rubber plantation, near the burmise border with Thailand. Mom and Dad got married very young in a small village just across Yangon's river and after a few months my older sister, Thida, who is now 9 years old, has arrived. I also have two more brothers aged 7 and 4. My dad used to work on fishing boats. Thida always tells me that it was hard work because you have to live on the ship for several weeks without being able to go home. When I was still in the mother's tummy, my dad left, he's missing from home since two years now. Thida says that the monsoon took him away with him and that he will never come back, but I hope she's wrong because I'd love to know him. Just before I was born my mum's friend told her that they were looking for workers on a rubber plantation in the south of the country, near Kawthaung. Mom's friend was moving there and we went with her. I was born there, inside a bamboo palafitte without electricity on a rainy night.
Fortunately, my mother was not alone. As soon as we arrived at the plantation, the doctors of Medacross visited it and asked the village chief to call them immediately, as soon as the labour would have begun. And so it happened! When the pain started, a doctor and a nurse left from the Basic Health Clinic that Medacross renovated at Kawthaung, bringing with them all the necessary equipment and medicines. They faced a two-hour drive under the pouring rain, without even the light of the moon to illuminate the dirt roads full of holes that run through the forest. That evening everything went well having them close to mummy and I'm now growing healthy.
But do you want to know another great news? A few months ago, Medacross friends came to visit us during one of the visits of the Mobile Clinic and they told us how, thanks to your contribution, hundreds of other children like me can receive free treatment without having to face a long journey by foot to reach the nearest clinic. Some of them are not as lucky as I am, having received care and assistance since my first day. Some of them had never been visited by a doctor, but now they have hope. They can grow and grow up! I want to thank you friends, if I can always count on Medacross and feel protected, it's thanks to you.
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