The Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF) was established in 2006 in response to the increasing number of patients on the Thai-Burma border who required surgery that was not available at local clinics or hospitals. The Fund is run through the Mae Tao Clinic in Mae Sot, Thailand, which offers a wide range of healthcare services.
Before BCMF was established, people who needed surgery or complex medical procedures could only have their symptoms treated. Without the necessary surgery their lives were either severely impaired or they died prematurely.
To operate effectively BCMF fundraises to cover its own operating costs. A visit to BCMF’s patient house in Chiang Mai with one of our sponsors, Swiss businessman Peter Brodtbeck, led to a generous donation to help fund running costs.
In 1988 the Mae Tao Clinic was established in Mae Sot, Thailand to treat Burmese refugees fleeing the political conflict in Burma. For many refugees their ability to access healthcare is not only limited because of its costs, but many do not have legal status in Thailand and may be arrested or deported if they are caught leaving the refugee camps.
In 2006 the clinic created the Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF) to fund medical treatment for patients who have complex medical conditions that cannot be treated at Mae Tao Clinic. BCMF also provides a range of support services before, during, and after treatment.
BCMF negotiated with the Thai authorities to allow its patients to travel to Chiang Mai, 350 km from Mae Sot, to receive necessary treatment and/or surgery. Transportation is arranged for the patients and their caregivers. BCMF pays for hospital charges and provides food and accommodation while the patients are receiving treatment.
Goals and Results
At our recommendation, Peter Brodtbeck visited BCMF’s patient house in Chiang Mai in 2013. The visit sparked an interest in Mr. Brodtbeck, who asked us to inquire what the project needs were.
After communicating with BCMF, they asked for financial support to help cover their running costs. Mr. Brodtbeck agreed to sponsor part of the running costs for five months, including funding for office supplies, volunteer stipend and internet.