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Dr. Cynthia’s Amazing Work for the People of Burma

While the politics surrounding Burma often takes center stage, the country still suffers from massive humanitarian issues that are a direct consequence of the decades of iron-fisted rule. Burma spends 3% of its gross domestic product on healthcare but 40% on its military, a sad indicator of the concern shown for the people of Burma by those in power.

A few years back I had the opportunity to arrange a series of meetings on Capitol Hill for Dr. Cynthia Maung, a physician who, after fleeing Burma 23 years ago, devoted her life to helping the tens of thousands of refugees that have fled Burma and are in desperate need of health care. A short time ago, The Guardian wrote an excellent profile of “Dr. Cynthia” (as she is known to her patients) and her medical clinic in Mae Sot.

While world governments wrestle with deciding whether Burma is really making strides toward democracy or whether it is just more lip service in an attempt to lift sanctions, we hope they don’t forget those most affected by their decisions. The people of Burma, including the many ethnic groups as well as the tens of thousands of refugees living stateless in refugee camps in Thailand, deserve a bright future. Let’s hope the desires of big business and multi-national conglomerates for access to Burma’s abundant resources don’t cloud the vision of our elected leaders who need to remain focused on what’s best for Burma’s citizens.