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Mae Tao Clinic Issues Clarification of Position and Recent Meetings with the Myanmar Peace Team

By Mae Tao Clinic  •  September 18, 2012

The Mae Tao Clinic has released a briefing paper today that provides further details about the recent meetings with the Myanmar Government Peace Team led by Minister U Aung Min. The paper clarifies Mae Tao Clinic’s position on continuing to provide crucial health services on the Thai-Burma border and identifies three key areas that the government must prioritize in order to begin addressing Burma’s current underfunded and highly centralized health system that is not able to meet people’s needs, especially those in ethnic areas and displaced in Thailand.

“We want everyone to know that the Mae Tao Clinic is not going back to Burma until the Burmese Government’s health systems provide equitable primary health care services for all people regardless of their status. Our services are still very much needed along the border as the government has a long way to go to provide adequate health care to the people of Burma, especially those in ethnic areas,” said Dr. Cynthia Maung, founder of the Mae Tao Clinic.

The briefing paper from the clinic goes on to identify several key issues that Dr. Cynthia raised during the meetings with U Aung Min and the Myanmar Peace Team, including improving local cross border collaboration and referral system between the Mae Tao Clinic, the Myawaddy Hospital and the Mae Sot Hospital, developing solutions for addressing statelessness in children born on the Thai-Burma border to Burmese parents, and the need for accreditation and recognition of the skills of those working in health, education, community development and social work on the Thai-Burma border.

“The people from the government side who will join future meetings should have the relevant knowledge, experience and positions to be able to address these key issues in order to effectively collaborate. I hope that if the government wants to meet again, they will bring the right people so our conversations can have concrete outcomes towards improving health services along the border and inside Burma,” said Dr. Cynthia.

In it’s briefing paper, Mae Tao Clinic also gave additional necessary criteria that the government must follow in order to have official and productive future meetings, including establishing a clear agenda agreed upon in advance, holding meetings in a neutral location in Mae Sot, seeking permission for media coverage from the Mae Tao Clinic, involving appropriate participants able to address key priority issues, sharing information about all participants, their backgrounds and their roles, and seeking prior permission from Thai authorities.

“We welcome the government’s interest in meeting with us and discussing health services, but we want future meetings to be formal and productive in beginning to address the longstanding problems the people of Burma have faced, especially relating to health care needs in ethnic areas that have suffered under decades of armed conflict,” said Dr. Cynthia.

For more information, please contact:

Dr Cynthia Maung (USA from Sept 18 – 24): +1 240 370 5908 or info@maetaoclinic.org
Eh Thwa (Thailand): +66 810448521

Download the briefing paper here.

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