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MSF in Thailand, 2010
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In Thailand, MSF helps improve access to healthcare for some of the estimated three million unregistered migrant workers in the country. Staff also train health workers to provide basic healthcare to people living across the border in Myanmar.
The Kayah backpackers project is based in Mae Hong Son, in the north of Thailand. MSF staff in Thailand train “backpackers” from Myanmar so that they can provide basic healthcare. The backpackers then travel back across the border and work as mobile medical teams, visiting people living in remote villages in Kayah state, eastern Myanmar, who would otherwise not have any access to medical care.
MSF closed its malaria project in New Mon State, in Myanmar, at the end of June. Staff working from a base on the Thai side of the border had been supporting malaria control initiatives in Myanmar, distributing mosquito nets, training community health workers, and diagnosing and treating patients.
Three Pagodas Pass
Thousands of migrant workers cross the border between Thailand and Myanmar at the Three Pagodas Pass every day. Many come to work in factories, some move further into Thailand. Unregistered migrant workers are being excluded from healthcare, and undocumented migrants in need of care often fear that a visit to a health centre may result in deportation. MSF helps to provide access to medical care by operating a mobile clinic in the Three Pagodas Pass area, which provides basic healthcare. Staff conducted 146 antenatal consultations and referred pregnant women to Ministry of Health hospitals for delivery. Some 460 people were vaccinated against measles. In May, MSF distributed relief items when political tensions led to an influx of people from Myanmar. In November, staff provided healthcare to 331 people when post-election violence in Myanmar led to some 3,000 people crossing the border to Thailand. In December a fixed clinic was opened to increase the availability of care.
In Samut Sakhon province, an industrial zone where thousands of undocumented migrants live and work, MSF staff operated a clinic offering basic healthcare, including vaccinations for children under five, antenatal care and medical care for people suffering physical trauma. More than 540 people attended health education sessions.
Working in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, MSF diagnosed and treated 170 people for cholera after an outbreak at the end of October.
MSF has worked in Thailand since 1976.