Reflections from the Latongku Medical Clinic
As I tried to prepare for the medical aspects of this trip, I found it difficult to get a handle on reliable information on basic healthcare and health statistics in the Karen people along the Thai/Burmese border where we have been traveling. It quickly became evident in talking with the many different medical assets on the ground why that was- there is very little information to be found as this is a marginalized, politically and geographically isolated and severely underserved group of people with infant, child and maternal mortality rates that are likely higher than any other place in the world. My prior exposure to work in third world settings prepared me mentally but I am always emotionally overwhelmed and incredibly inspired by the work that local medical personnel are daily participating in and this experience has gone beyond anything I’ve seen or learned about before. As I observed and participated in the work that the incredible Marci (lead nurse and project manager at the LTK clinic) and the medics (who have had the equivalent of medical assistance training with some trauma and other specialized courses) are doing, I could only be amazed at the dedication, hard work and commitment to helping those who have no other access to healthcare that these courageous and tireless workers- now friends!- showed. I can truly say my life has been changed by this experience and I am excited to have had the opportunity to be inspired by those providing medical care in this setting and to look forward to future ways to support and participate in their work!