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Health of migrants from Burma

Websites/Multiple Documents

Title: "Health Messenger"
Description/subject: "Health Messenger" is a distance learning magazine directed at health and social workers and their communities. It is published every three months by Aide Medicale Internationale. The magazine seeks to communicate health information and knowledge to those living in areas where resources are limited. In order to achieve this purpose, all those concerned about health problems should become actively involved in the project. Teaching is more effective if the whole community is involved in the learning process... Medics, nurses, laboratory technicians, home visitors, and school teachers should all join together in this effort. All of us should try to gain more knowledge regarding health problems through any means available in order to help improve health conditions in the camps for temporarily displaced persons and also those outside the camps. Health Messenger serves as one of the means for those who want to benefit from this knowledge and information exchange regarding health and medical problems. To read the Burmese text, you need to have the necessary fonts installed in your computer. These can be downloaded from the OBL Fonts subsection under "Languages of Burma" at http://www.burmalibrary.org/show.php?cat=398&lo=d&sl=0
Language: Burmese, English
Source/publisher: Aide Medicale Internationale (AMI)
Format/size: pdf
Date of entry/update: 25 January 2005

Individual Documents

Title: Burmese Border Guidelines - update 2016 - English
Date of publication: 19 April 2016
Description/subject: "The Burmese Border Clinical Guidelines are specifically designed to assist medics and health workers practising along the Thailand-Myanmar border. These 2016 guidelines are an adaptation and update of the 2007 Burmese Border Clinical Guidelines (BBG) which was produced in conjunction with a number of organisations on the Thai-Myanmar border. The updated has been completed using resources such as Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) 2013 ‘Clinical Guidelines Diagnosis and Treatment Manual,’ and other international treatment guidelines and medical literature from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Non-Government Organisations (NGOs). These guidelines have been updated and approved by physicians working at Shoklo Malaria Research Unit (SMRU). Mae Tao clinic kindly contributed their pharmacy handbook which has been created using MSF 2013 ‘Clinical Guidelines Diagnosis and Treatment Manual,’ and the ‘British National Formulary’ (BNF) 2014. In addition, some parts of the ‘Mae Tao Clinic 2015 Chronic Guidelines’ are included. There may be minor discrepancies between the pharmacy handbook and the guidelines due to slightly different practices. Please follow local protocols for your organisation if available. Specific guidelines for malaria, obstetrics and paediatrics/neonates exist so most duplicated information has been removed from this guideline to avoid conflicting advice. For information regarding these topics, please see separate guidelines. Where possible each chapter follows the following format: EMERGENCY CONDITIONS, DEFINITION, CAUSES, SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS, DIAGNOSIS, TREATMENT and PREVENTION. The information within each chapter may not be an extensive list but the most relevant aspects for clinics on the border are included. The guidelines are written in simple English to allow for understanding, and the language has been checked and approved by medics at SMRU clinics. SMRU gives permission for the reproduction and translation of these guidelines for use by other health organisations on the border. These guidelines are recommendations only, SMRU and Mae Tao clinic cannot be held responsible for the use of these guidelines by other organisations..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: SMRU (Shoklo Malaria Research Unit)
Format/size: pdf (3.1MB) (322 pages)
Alternate URLs: http://www.shoklo-unit.com/sites/default/files/bbg_medical_guidelines_19apr2016.pdf
Date of entry/update: 03 August 2016

Title: Problem Pregnancies
Date of publication: July 2008
Description/subject: Low paid jobs for Burmese migrants are plentiful—but no babies, please... MAE SOT, Thailand — "A pregnant woman sits on her hospital bed, loudly pleading for an abortion. In the same ward, another woman gazes with devotion at her own newly born child. A third woman attracts my attention because of her dark eyes, wide and innocent, in a pale face, damp with sweat. Ma Khaing is her name. She says she also wanted to abort her baby, by taking the traditional purgative kay thi pan. The herbal concoction only made her ill. The unborn baby was unharmed, although 23-year-old Ma Khaing was clearly not pleased to hear the news from medical staff at Dr Cynthia Maung’s Mae Tao clinic in the Thai-Burmese border town of Mae Sot. She looked downcast as a medic told her the baby would survive. Ma Khaing earns 160 baht (US $5) a day working on a sugar cane plantation near Mae Sot. Pregnancy and the prospect of an infant to care for pose a real threat to her livelihood—and I’m not surprised when she says: “I don’t want the baby. I want to work and save money.” Ma Khaing’s story is typical, according to Mae Tao staffer Naw Pine Mu. She has seen many abortion cases in her five years at the clinic. “All are migrant women, working in the factories or in the sugar cane fields,” Naw Pine Mu says. Pregnancy and motherhood cost them their jobs and push them back into poverty..."
Author/creator: Aye Chan Myate
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 16, No. 7
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 15 July 2008

Title: Displacement and disease: the Shan exodus and infectious disease implications for Thailand
Date of publication: 14 March 2008
Description/subject: Abstract: "Decades of neglect and abuses by the Burmese government have decimated the health of the peoples of Burma, particularly along her eastern frontiers, overwhelmingly populated by ethnic minorities such as the Shan. Vast areas of traditional Shan homelands have been systematically depopulated by the Burmese military regime as part of its counter-insurgency policy, which also employs widespread abuses of civilians by Burmese soldiers, including rape, torture, and extrajudicial executions. These abuses, coupled with Burmese government economic mismanagement which has further entrenched already pervasive poverty in rural Burma, have spawned a humanitarian catastrophe, forcing hundreds of thousands of ethnic Shan villagers to flee their homes for Thailand. In Thailand, they are denied refugee status and its legal protections, living at constant risk for arrest and deportation. Classified as “economic migrants,” many are forced to work in exploitative conditions, including in the Thai sex industry, and Shan migrants often lack access to basic health services in Thailand. Available health data on Shan migrants in Thailand already indicates that this population bears a disproportionately high burden of infectious diseases, particularly HIV, tuberculosis, lymphatic filariasis, and some vaccine-preventable illnesses, undermining progress made by Thailand’s public health system in controlling such entities. The ongoing failure to address the root political causes of migration and poor health in eastern Burma, coupled with the many barriers to accessing health programs in Thailand by undocumented migrants, particularly the Shan, virtually guarantees Thailand’s inability to sustainably control many infectious disease entities, especially along her borders with Burma."
Author/creator: Voravit Suwanvanichkij
Language: English
Source/publisher: Conflict and Health 2008, 2:4
Format/size: pdf (170K)
Alternate URLs: http://www.conflictandhealth.com/content/2/1/4
Date of entry/update: 09 April 2008

Title: Fertility and abortion: Burmese women's health on the Thai-Burma border
Date of publication: January 2004
Description/subject: "In Thailand's Tak province there are 60,520 registered migrant workers and an estimated 150,000 unregistered migrant workers from Burma. Fleeing the social and political problems engulfing Burma, they are mostly employed in farming, garment making, domestic service, sex and construction industries. There is also a significant number of Burmese living in camps. Despite Thailand�s developed public health system and infrastructure, Burmese women face language and cultural barriers and marginal legal status as refugees in Thailand, as well as a lack of access to culturally appropriate and qualified reproductive health information and services..."
Author/creator: Suzanne Belton and Cynthia Maung
Language: English
Source/publisher: Forced Migration Review No. 19
Format/size: pdf (110K)
Date of entry/update: 08 June 2004

Title: Post Abortion Care: Who Cares?
Date of publication: September 2002
Description/subject: "This article is intended to give health workers an introduction into the individual implications of pregnancy loss as well as local issues on the Thai-Burma border and broader South-east Asian regional issues. I want to focus on the gender and social features rather than pure biomedical information, although this is of course highly important but is covered in other parts of this magazine. I will talk about some women�s stories that were collected in 2002 to outline typical cases, the reasons why the woman chose to end the pregnancy and impact on women�s lives. I will also present some findings from a medical records review conducted with the Mae Tao Clinic and discuss some findings from research in the international arena. So should we care about post abortion care? I hope to show that we should, as not only can it be a life threatening event for the woman but it reflects certain aspects about the communities we live in, social conditions, legal and religious norms, how we value human rights and the status of women..."
Author/creator: Suzanne Belton
Language: English
Source/publisher: Health Messenger
Format/size: html (60K)
Date of entry/update: 15 June 2004

Title: Lady’s Love Powder
Date of publication: June 2002
Description/subject: This article appeared in Burma - Women's Voices for Change, Thanakha Team, Bangkok, published by ALTSEAN in 2002... "...Unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases are problems that many Burmese women face with little support and a poverty of health resources. Of course it is difficult to quantify such statements in light of the limited sharing of information that occurs between the Burman military government and the rest of the world. One informed source, Dr Ba Thike (1997), a doctor working in Burma, reported that in the 1980s abortion complications accounted for twenty percent of total hospital admissions and that for every three women admitted to give birth, one was admitted for abortion complications...The records at the Mae Tao Clinic in Thailand, a health service that offers reproductive health services to women coming from Burma as day visitors or as longer-term migrant workers, reflects a crisis in women�s health. In 2001, the Mae Tao Clinic documented 185 abortion complication cases (Out Patients Department) and 231 cases that needed to be admitted into the In-patients Department with complications such as sepsis, dehydration, haemorrhage and shock from abortions and miscarriage..."
Author/creator: Suzanne Belton (Ma Suu San)
Language: English
Source/publisher: Burma - Women
Format/size: html (24K)
Date of entry/update: 15 June 2004

Title: "Escape From the Bear and Run Into the Tiger": The Impact of Violence and Fear on Migrants' Reproductive Health
Date of publication: December 2000
Description/subject: "The massive influx of migrants from Burma into Thailand is one of the largest migrant populations in Asia. Over one million migrants from Burma are currently residing in Thailand. An ethnically diverse group coming from all over Burma and speaking many different languages, these migrants often lack a common language even among themselves. What they do share are encounters of fear and violence, that affect most facets of their lives. During 1998, an Assessment of Reproductive and Sexual Health Perspectives, Concerns and Realities of Migrant Workers from Burma in Thailand was conducted under the guidance of Mahidol University's Institute of Population and Social Research (IPSR). The recently published results of the study reveal that a fear of violence and a preoccupation with staying safe determines almost every aspect of the migrants' lives, including their health care options and decisions. The study highlights the extremely limited health services that exist in Burma as well as the problems encountered by migrants in Thailand such as the ready availability of medicines without access to health services or education. Consequently, people from Burma suffer from easily treatable conditions, presenting a health care crisis on both sides of the border. Most migrants from Burma in Thailand reside illegally and are generally unable to communicate in Thai. They are often in situations which leave them vulnerable to violence and abuse by employers, authorities and even each other. These experiences, coupled with fears of violence and exploitation, create a vacuum in which the migrants have few or no options for health services. This reality is further compounded by cultural mores and the lack of basic and reproductive health education, which lead to high maternal mortality and morbidity rates, unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortions and sexually transmitted diseases (including HIV/ AIDS)..."
Author/creator: Therese Caouette
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Burma Debate" VOL. VII, NO. 4 WINTER 2000
Format/size: pdf (329K - article; 1.22MB - full magazine)
Alternate URLs: http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs11/BD2000-V07-N04.pdf
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003