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.