Guest Speaker – Dr Alison McFarlane stepped in at the last minute when the scheduled speaker was unable to attend.
Alison and her husband Ken have been long term GP’S in Gisborne. They have a daughter who is now a nurse at Three Rivers. Ken and Alison wanted to give back so went to Myanmar to teach locals about health care.
Myanmar has recently been in the news and is ruled by the military who are in complete control with powerful and corrupt mem. They worked with internally displaced people(IDP) who are refugees in their own country.
There is almost no medical care or education services as money goes to the generals. They have had civil war for the past 70 yrs with ethnic people fighting the military who are funded by China. Many children witness their parents being killed. They worked in an area of Shan Province that borders Thailand and is relatively safe area – the Shan ethnic army have won back this small part of the province with sacrifice. They are now developing a civilian government.
Alison and Ken have been working for Partners Relief and Development which is a small organisation that gets in and gets things done. Some of the other organisations just come in and do surveys.
They were based at Loi Tai Leng which is a mountain fortress that has a clinic and classrooms that were built by a Dr from New Plymouth. They work with others in the team of locals and others from overseas. Some of the students walk for a month to be able to be part of the programme.
The Shan youth soak up knowledge. An Australian midwife is teaching them how to help babies breath which as saved many babies not breathing at birth. There is a Medic 1 class teaching public health and a Medic 2 class for the brightest and become leaders at the clinic. They deliver lessons in English which is translated but a number of students understand English..
Ken and Alison are not registered to practise in Myanmar so give advice.
Great work and talk well supported by photos.