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Posted by Mike Lake
The founder of Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF), Kanchana Thornton wasted no time in putting her $50,000 “The One” award to good use. After coming in second place last year in the prestigious Rotary-sponsored international humanitarian project competition, K. Kanchana and her Mae Sot team began working with local officials on a new health clinic in a remote village in Myawwady, Burma.
The village, Ker Gaw, located about two hours northwest of Myawwady, had a small clinic with no running water or electricity before the BCMF, with CMIRC’s help, brought a well, generator, and solar panels to the grateful community.
“It’s like a wedding celebration,” new clinic coordinator Khiang Soe said. “everyone is so happy.”
Khiang Soe will work with two interns to help care for up to 400 patients a month. Women’s reproductive health and child care will be the focus of the clinic, but the staff will treat accident victims, screen for diseases and refer serious cases to the BCMF office in Mae Sot. Khiang Soe is also trained in dentistry.
“Thank you, Khiang Soe for pestering me to open this clinic,” K. Kanchana told the villagers at the festive opening ceremony. “Maternal healthcare is our aim, so keep us busy.”
Through early detection of problems, K. Kanchana hopes the Ker Gaw clinic staff can help patients before their problems require hospitalization in Chiang Mai. She encouraged villagers to help take care of the clinic and noted that by using the facility, patients will help the staff improve their skills.
The new building consists of a large reception area, seven bed inpatient room, staff room, examination room, and “birth” room. Equipment and furnishings are still to come. New solar panels will supply electricity to the clinic and to the pump for the well. Ker Gaw and the surrounding villages still have no electricity, but with its own power source, the clinic will provide a healthcare haven for thousands of patients a year.
CMIRC president Jerry Nelson helped K. Kanchana cut the ribbon to officially open the clinic at 10 a.m. Friday, January 26th. Also representing CMIRC at the event were Mike Lake and Imelda Tibbott. Guest speakers included 85-year-old Bu Nah U, who recounted his time growing up with little help from outside the village, and Ker Gaw headman Pah Sho, who also thanked CMIRC and invited everyone to the huge lunch prepared for the guests.
CMIRC has been helping the BCMF B. K. Kee patient house in Chiang Mai for more than two years, and we hope to continue supporting this worthy endeavor in the future.
Aided by BCMF staff in dressed in traditional Karen outfits, octogenarian Bu Nah U, BCMF director Kanchana Thornton, and CMIRC president Jerry Nelson cut the ribbon to open the new clinic in Ker Gaw.
CMIRC distributed hand Trekker Ted dolls to children at the Ker Gaw clinic’s grand opening.  See the article, below for more about these dolls.