Corner where the clinic was set up
Bill Brower is a Field Program Officer with GlobalGiving who is visiting our projects throughout Southeast Asia. On February 24 he visited a monastery in South Dagon that was previously the site of an Relief International (RI) medical clinic and one of the sites of a potential future education project.
Following Cyclone Nargis in May of 2008, many donors were reluctant to give to relief efforts for fear the money would just end up in the pockets of the government. Relief International was the second organization to tell me that absolutely no money was diverted to the government. And while there can be considerable bureaucracy (but where isn’t there?) and its important to establish and sustain relationships with the relevant government agency, Charlotte, the Country Director, told me the national or local government does not meddle in their operations.
I lacked the appropriate travel permits and so couldn’t travel to see RI clinics in the Irrawaddy Delta, but Rana, the Program Officer in charge of Myanmar and Sudan, and Dr. Hla Hla Aye, a Burmese staff showed me a monastery in South Dagon on the outskirts of Yangon where they had a primary healthcare clinic, and are considering starting a project to support the education provided for free by the monks to children whose families can’t afford the uniform, supplies and informal registration fees for public school.
According to the monks, the clinic served 20,000-30,000 people in this and neighboring wards. It is RI policy to employ only local doctors who provided primary healthcare, maternal health and referrals to the hospital in more serious cases. For instance, they referred 40 suspected cases of suspected tuberculosis. The clinic provided an invaluable service for free to those who couldn’t afford private clinics and wanted more care than could be provided by traditional healers. Thank you for supporting this project!
Kids studying at the free monastic school