Why we are helping in BURMA

 In News

Last November, I made my first trip to Burma, with a second trip in March 2013.

Burma is in a deplorable state in almost every respect. 1/3 of the population have to make do with $ 2 a day, almost as many are without clean drinking water, and half are without electricity. According to international statistics, the rate of malnutrition among both adults and children is alarming. Healthcare can be described as disastrous. Due to the international sanctions, Burma receives the lowest rate of international assistance, at $ 6 per person per year. For comparison, Cambodia receives $ 52, and Laos $ 62. The government invests almost nothing in health services. That means that the people have to pay for these services themselves. Around 100,000 die each year of treatable diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis and HIV, simply because they have no money.

An old acquaintance, who has known the country for many years, told me of a variety of different projects, and I visited several of them. The most outstanding pro¬ject is that of a medical couple, Dr. Frank Smithuis and Dr. Ni Ni Tun.

Dr. Frank is a Dutchman who has been living and working in South-East Asia for 20 years. He has been in charge of refugee camps in Cambodia, and from 1994 to 2009 he was a Director with MSF (Médecins Sans Frontières) in Burma, before founding his own aid organization, Medical Action Myanmar (MAM) 3 years ago. He and his wife, Burmese physician Dr. NiNi Tun, have devoted their lives to helping the poorest of the poor.

Dr. Frank is in charge of a malaria project that is being funded by several European countries. There are some 300 health workers in villages, examining and treating the people for malaria. At an estimate, some 5 million people are affected.

Meanwhile, MAM runs two clinics. They treat patients who simply would not be able to afford treatment otherwise. These are first and foremost children suffering from malnutrition, but also tuberculosis, and above all AIDS. In Burma alone, 25,000 people die of HIV each year. MAM is carrying out research on better and more efficient ways of treating these diseases – especially malaria and HIV. Dr Frank is an advisor to the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva in this area.

At the moment, we are looking for support for 4 projects – for details visit „Projects in Burma“ .

Our heartfelt thanks for any support you can give!
Susanne Schroff

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