Dear friends and supporters of BCMF,
The last 12 months has been a busy year for Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF). This year we took on over 130 new children and special adult cases and closed over 40 cases, some with amazing success stories which we plan to share with you on our new website in the near future.
It has also been a turbulent year in Burma with the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and the November elections. In the aftermath of these elections, an escalation in violence led to an influx of refugees to the border region. Mae Tao Clinic and its partners continue to assist those who have fled and remain unable to return.
Health care in Burma continues to decline. The military regime spends an estimated 79 cents per person a year on health and education – the lowest in South East Asia. By comparison, Thailand spends $89 per person each year. The lack of investment in health care in Burma means the number of people seeking treatment at Mae Tao Clinic increases by around 25 per cent every year.
Children who are seriously ill, but cannot be treated at the Mae Tao Clinic or at the local hospital rely on the Burma Children Medical Fund to raise funds and to navigate the logistical and legal challenges involved in getting them to Chiang Mai, 400km away, for life-saving treatment. In the majority of cases, the children BCMF treats will die if their condition is left untreated. There is no health support for them in Burma and their situation is desperate. Their families bring them to BCMF as a last resort.
This year a BCMF patient van departed nearly every week and in 2010 transferred more than 140 people between the Mae Tao Clinic and Chiang Mai (including patients and their carers). The fund also arranged the treatment of one patient in Bangkok as she was unable to get the specialised care she needed in Chiang Mai. In 2010 BCMF also took on its first case of the blood disease Thalassaemia. BCMF hopes to expand treatment of this disease, prevalent on the border, in 2011.
BCMF could not help these children without the kindness and funds donated by people like yourselves and all the various groups who have supported us since 2006.
On behalf of the children and families who have received your support, the staff of BCMF thank you and wish you a happy and safe 2011.
Kanchana Thornton (BCMF Program Manager)