MAE TAO CLININC-From Rice Cooker to Autoclave

Report on the Mae Tao Clinic gets it wrong about Three Diseases Fund support inside the country

This excerpt is from last month’s  of “From Rice Cooker to Autoclave at Dr Cynthia’s Mae Tao Clinic”. It states that the Three Diseases Fund does not pay for counselling, xrays, blood tests, or sputum tests. This is untrue. Would any readers like to set the record straight?

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“Considering that MTC is not a legally recognized establishment in Thailand, the level of support it has received from MSH and the MoH is remarkable. The local support provides a certain amount of stability, and thus the ability to work effective-ly. The support goes beyond MTC, to include many other health CBOs in the area, allowing those organizations to provide greater community outreach services. This support from the local Thai community has helped strengthen partnerships between the local health organizations, and in particular, has resulted in improved access to the Thai health system.

Inside Burma it is impossible to form this type of relationship; CBOs not sanctioned by the junta simply do not exist, resulting in a major gap in health services. When the junta introduces a major health campaign, such as the 3-Disease Fund, which provides free medications for malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV, the campaign usually only supports the medication but not the social services (counselling) or diagnostic costs, such as diagnostic x-rays, blood tests or sputum tests. Due to the fact that these costs are not supported by the junta, the financial burden falls on the patients. Further there is no community support system for these patients whereas in Thailand the Thai Ministry of Health fosters social support services delivery for these patients. Therefore, the vast majority of the civilian population inside Burma who cannot afford to cover these costs goes untreated. Many of these untreated patients eventually arrive at Mae Tao Clinic, adding to the already burgeoning caseload.”

KIO delegates meet junta brass for the twelfth time on BGF

FRIDAY, 12 MARCH 2010 14:44

Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) delegates met the regional Burmese military chief today on the contentious Border Guard Force issue for the twelfth time, following its week-long crucial central committee meet, said KIO sources.

The KIO delegates from its Laiza headquarters in eastern Kachin state, near the China border, and senior Burmese military officials met in the Northern Command (NC or Ma-Pa-Kha) in Myitkyina, the capital of Kachin State at about 10 a.m. local time, said the KIO relations office in Myitkyina.

The KIO delegates led by Vice-president No.1 Lt-Gen Gauri Zau Seng met the junta’s Northern Command Commander Maj-Gen Soe Win. The commander was told of the outcome of the KIO central committee meeting from March 1 to 10, on transforming the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), the armed-wing of KIO to the Burmese Army controlled Border Guard Force, said sources close to KIO delegates.

The KIO delegates have proposed to the junta supremo Snr-Gen Than Shwe, through the meeting for a political dialogue, leaving aside the BGF issue for now, according to KIO relations office in Myitkyina,

With mediatory help of two Kachin church leaders— Rev. Dr. Lahtaw Saboi Jum and Father Dau Hkawng, and businessman Hkun Sa, the meeting was held in the midst of fears of fresh civil over the KIO’s failure to toe the junta line on the BGF issue, said KIO officials. Continue reading “KIO delegates meet junta brass for the twelfth time on BGF”

NLD office in Arakan demolished

FRIDAY, 12 MARCH 2010 14:57

The National League for Democracy’s Arakan State’s office was demolished by unidentified people just a day before it was to open, said U Thein Hlaing, general secretary of NLD Arakan State.

“We had planned to open the NLD state office at 8 am on 11 March. Some senior state party leaders went to the office on the day to open it, and when they arrived they say there was no structure. Only the compound remained without any buildings,” he said.

U Maung Krun Aung, MP of the 1990 election in the Rathidaung Township constituency, U San Shwe Tun, Sittwe Township NLD president, and prominent woman NLD leader Daw Myo Aye saw the building had been demolished on the opening day.

The office was located on Pan Kran Land, or Garden Road, in Myo Thu Gyi Ward in Sittwe, and it was built of wood and bamboo.

“We had discussed the opening of the office with Arakan State Police Chief Aung Than Shwe at his office on 10 March. A day after the discussion the office was demolished. I suspect some people who are pro-regime demolished the building,” said Thein.

MP U Maung Krun Aung complained to Police Chief Aung Than Shwe and the ward chairman, but there has been no response or action regarding the incident. Continue reading “NLD office in Arakan demolished”

HURFOM compiles list of 200 villagers who fled Yephyu Township

Kaowao News
THURSDAY, 11 MARCH 2010 15:52

Villagers from Komile, Kyauk-Katin and Yaphu in Yephyu Township, Terasserim Division have fled to Tavoy District – an area under NMSP control – following pressure from local military authorities for them to form a militia, local reports said.

This occurred in the first week of March, according to information researched and collected by Nai Aua Mon, of HURFOM. Aua Mon estimates that between 95 and 110 households have fled, accounting for a total of around 200 people.

Another reason they have fled from their villages is because columns from Burmese Army regiments 282 and 273 and 31 are preparing to launch operations against armed Mon splinter groups and KNU Brigade 4.

At present villagers from three villages have fled because the local authorities have attempted to force them to undertake military training, and they refused. Some villagers have fled temporarily for refuge; but others have decided not to return to their villages according Nai Aua Mon’s interviews with them.

A local health worker said that villagers from Ahlae Skhan were afraid because their village chief has joined hands with the local army unit to suppress any opposition. Those who fled Ahlae Skhan have been resettled by NMSP, but their security and food provisions are not assured.

The health worker added that he had heard that those who arrived in this area do not want to return, and that since they have neither money to buy property nor allotments to grow food, the NMSP is going to create a new village for them.

Between Ahlae Skhan and Marout Chaei are many fields – in Mon “waey-hanoot” – which have been used for resettlement, but the situation there is not secure, according to those who have moved there.

The villagers from Yephyu Township used to be under the control of NMSP and KNU, but since 1995 when the NMSP signed the ceasefire agreement with the junta, the areas have fallen under military control. HURFOM says that these villagers used to be involved in forced labour such as railway and gas pipeline construction.

Thailand’s political unrest cuts down timber exports, traders in Three Pagodas Pass claim

THURSDAY, 11 MARCH 2010 16:08

Timber sellers in Three Pagodas Pass have informed IMNA that interest from Thai buyers has dropped dramatically since the end of February, and that consequently their businesses are suffering; sources claimed that drops in timber purchases could be partially attributed to Thailand’s recent political upheaval.

According to timber traders from the Three Pagodas Pass region, starting in the 3rd week of February 2010, the merchants noticed a dramatic decrease in the number of Thai timber merchants importing wood from the area. The remaining Thai businesses who continue to purchase timber from Three Pagodas Pass are enjoying large discounts, as timber traders have been forced to lower product prices in the newly competitive buyers market. The price decreases have proved especially problematic to individuals who have invested large amounts of funds in their timber businesses.

“Timber prices are very low. Before, we got 13,000 baht for one ton of wood, but now we get only 8000 baht per ton. I am going to lose about 2000 baht per ton [with each sale]. Currently I keep my timber and do not sell; I am waiting to see what the prices are like. If the price [of timber] goes up, I am going to sell my timber. But currently I have to stop doing my job for a while,” claimed a timber seller, who told IMNA that he had invested over 1 million baht in his business.

This seller explained to IMNA that he’d originally purchased 100 tons of timber, at the cost of 1,500 baht a ton. Shipments are made in 1-ton increments; with each shipment, sellers must plan on paying roughly 1,500 baht at assorted checkpoints run by the Burmese army and various rebel groups, and 2,500 baht in labor costs. Transportation costs an additional 4,000 baht. The decreased price of timber since late February has made it impossible for this timber merchant, as well as his peers, to earn any sort of income selling their timber.

Another Mon timber trader from Three Pagodas Pass claimed that Thailand’s unstable political situation has discouraged Thai buyers from purchasing timber, as they themselves fear that they will be unable to resell their purchases in a chaotic political and economic environment. Continue reading “Thailand’s political unrest cuts down timber exports, traders in Three Pagodas Pass claim”

New security checks at Shwedagon Pagoda symptomatic of SPDC’s mounting paranoia

WEDNESDAY, 10 MARCH 2010 20:53

According to sources in Rangoon, a combined security force comprised of the Rangoon police and State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) soldiers have maintained strict security and baggage checks at Rangoon’s famous Shwedagon Pagoda since the 27th, when the annual “Shwedagon Festival” was held.

The security forces have set up checkpoint stations at each of the 4 entrances to the pagoda; visitors to the pagoda informed IMNA that between 3 and 5 guards man each station and conduct rigorous searches of backpacks and large bags.

“They started this [ the checkpoints] due to the festival, not just the police but also the soldiers were included. They also had guns and wore their uniforms,” said a Rangoon resident who lives in Rangoon Division’s Pahan Township, near Shwedagon Pagoda.

Shwedegon Pagoda is a major point of religious pilgrimage in Burma, and many pilgrims and visitors arrive with large traveling bags and backpacks in tow. Sources informed IMNA that the ongoing, rigorous searching of luggage at each entry to the monument backlogs visitors attempting to enter the pagoda.

“They are still checking people every day at the pagoda, but now if they suspect people with bags, they open the bags and check everything. There are always many people at the Shwedagon Pagoda, they come from different places, all around Burma. Some of them carry big bags and backpacks, and some of them just have handbags” explained a Mon state native studying in Rangoon, who attended the Shwedagon festival on February 27th. Continue reading “New security checks at Shwedagon Pagoda symptomatic of SPDC’s mounting paranoia”


This coming Saturday, March 13th, 2010 marks the 22nd anniversary of the Burma Human Rights Day, when a student leader Ko Phone Maw was killed by the
Burmese junta’s security forces in 1988, and thousands of students took to the streets of Rangoon (former capital of Burma) and other major cities to demand
fundamental human rights. These early student protests sparked and paved the way for successive student protests throughout the country and nationwide
“8888 Uprising”, which brought down 3 successive regimes in Burma.