Monday, 30 November 2015

News from Burma - Medical Support

I'm afraid this report, covering the end of 2014 and 2015 is delayed (my fault), but in the interests of completeness, it's finally being issued.This report is based on information provided by Dr. Hla Tun, who also supplied the photographs.
Bagan Medical Clinic

As commented in earlier reports, the number of patients arriving for treatment tends to fall in summer, because the heat adds to the problems of travelling to the clinic. Winter in Burma is from November to February and Bagan has especially low temperatures because it is situated in the 'Dry Zone'.

The 'Dry Zone' is the name given to the microclimate of the region lying between the Shan Plateau to the east and the low coastal ranges to the west extending south from Mandalay and taking in much of the central plains where Bagan is situated. Because of this "rain shadow", Bagan and Mandalay receive, on average, less than one third of Yangon's yearly rainfall.
The Bagan Medical Clinic normally opens on Friday, Saturday and Sunday each week but patients from remote areas may have travelled up to 200 miles to reach the clinic and start to arrive as early in the week as Wednesday evening.

On the Thursday 18th December 2014 Dr. Hla Tun, assisted by two other doctors, started treating patients because there were already around 580 people waiting.

View of the verandah of the third (and currently largest) clinic building, showing some of the waiting patients.

By the time Dr. Hla Tun stopped treatments for the day at one o'clock on Friday morning, the three doctors had dealt with 250 patients. As the night was cold, Dr. Hla Tun checked on the sleeping patients and took the pictures reproduced below. Although a substantial dormitory for waiting patients is now in use, donated by The Ultimate Travel Company and its clients, the large number of patients waiting for treatment meant that people were sleeping in a number of other areas, including the Monastery and its food store (along with dried onions, potatoes, chillies, garlic, carrots and cabbage).

The Ultimate Travel Company and its clients donated a dormitory building for waiting patients in 2013. This picture (taken at 01:30 in the morning) shows about 70 patients, with one elderly lady unable to sleep because of the cold.

Patients sleeping in the upper storey of the 200-year old Monastery.

Patients sleeping in the Monastery food store.

A green carpet was laid on the floor in front of the clinic building to provide additional sleeping space.

Waiting patients sleeping in a light truck, faces covered with blankets.

The monastery ensures that waiting patients are provided with a hot lunch each day. Preparing the food is a major undertaking - on the previous Saturday 13th December around 420 meals were served! Vegetables will be mixed with dried fish and cooked by a monk assisted by volunteers to provide the free lunch for waiting patients at the Clinic.

Bagan Medical Clinic treated 5377 patients in November 2014 bringing the total number of treatments carried out since the clinic opened on 6th August 2011 to 124,178.

You can find all my reports on the Bagan Medical Centre here.