Pandaw Charity

??Since the first clinic opened at Gantgar in 2010 we have now offered quarter of a million treatments with free medications.

The clinics, situated mainly in on inaccessible islands in the Irrawaddy’s middle Burma archipelago, provide a healthcare lifeline to communities who otherwise have no access through, poverty or distance, to any form of healthcare.

Pandaw Charity

???Thanks to a single very generous donation from a corporate donor, laboratory equipment to enable blood testing and analysis was purchased. The equipment has been installed at the central clinic in New Pagan to which patients are referred from the outlying village clinics.

We have also purchased a brand new light truck that is going to save a lot of money ferrying the doctors and their teams from clinic to clinic. Retired Pandaw chef Ko Po Koh is the volunteer driver and being quite a vociferous personality rather good at bossing the doctors around.

Pandaw Charity

?Further developments include the construction of an accommodation block adjacent to the Aeyarwadi clinic to allow doctors to stay overnight and the construction of a rest houses for patients who often arrive the night before morning surgery opens and have no where to sleep.

I was delighted to attend the clinic’s AGM at Pagan earlier this year in the garden of a Pagan friend’s house. Over fifty interested people attended including the headmen and elders from the seven villages and various well wishers from Pagan. Normally these occasions are rather dull, almost choreographed, with rows of nodding heads as statistical speeches are reeled off by the charity accountants.

Pandaw Charity

?This year it was very different as everyone had something to say and the meeting exploded into heated discussions on what we should be doing next and who should be doing what. This is the new democratic Burma with everyone having a strong point or view and heated arguments ending amiably but, alas, with not much decided!

I got shouted at by one old lady as apparently we do not have a duty night doctor at Pagan in case of an emergency. I tried to explain that sitting in Perth, Scotland I could hardly micromanage the doctor’s time table and they had to organise things themselves.

Pandaw Charity

?Someone else complained that in one clinic they were not checking the expiry dates of the medicines. There then erupted a huge row about whose job that was – the doctors, nurses or administrators. These sorts of public discussions were unthinkable just a year ago. Its great!

The good news is that the Pagan village committee are hoping to assign us a small piece of land in a good central location in order to build a decent central clinic. Currently the so called central clinic, with an X ray facility and laboratory, is housed in a collection of shabby huts on the edge of the village.

Pandaw Charity

?It transpires that the committee, most of whom are old friends who I knew when I spent a year in Pagan in 1986, have an ulterior motive: a notoriously nasty Rangoon property developer is after the site for a hotel. If they can get us to build the clinic first it will stop him. Well, I don’t have a problem with that – the people are fighting back!

Once we get permission for the new central clinic I will be writing to you again to ask donations to help build this. Its an opportunity to do something really interesting.

Patient numbers in the first quarter of this year have doubled. We believe this may be the result of transport improvements as the country accelerates its infrastructure development. Ayardaw clinic is close to a the village railway station on the newly opened west bank railway and, as train tickets are very cheap, patients are travelling in from considerable distances, even from the large city of Pakokku up the line. Likewise, with the opening of a new Irrawaddy bridge north of Pagan, patients are coming over in considerable numbers to the tiny village of Palin, where we have had to build a rest house for people queuing overnight. As a result of this growth funding has become quite stressed and we need more support than ever.

Pandaw Charity

?Thanks so much for all your support over the past five years. I will let you know when we hit our millionth patient.

Paul Strachan
Trustee, The Pandaw Charity

Pandaw Charity
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