Pandaw River Expeditions to open eighth medical clinic in Myanmar
A charity, founded by CEO of Pandaw River Expeditions, Paul Strachan, is funding the building of the eighth free medical clinic in Myanmar. The new Pandaw Central Clinic in Bagan will help ease the burden on the existing seven Myanmar clinics opened by the charity in the 10 years since the country was struck by Cyclone Nargis.
The Pandaw Charity, which is funded entirely by donations from Pandaw passengers and a profit share from river cruise pioneer, Pandaw River Expeditions, was established in 2008, following Cyclone Nargis, the worst natural disaster in the recorded history of Myanmar. At the time of the disaster, which claimed 138,366 lives, the ships in the Pandaw fleet were converted to floating hospitals, and their crews helped to save many lives. The Pandaw Charity went on to open eighth Pandaw Clinics in Myanmar, offering a full-time team of 20 medics, paramedics, pharmacists and support staff, who provide an average of 5,000 free treatments a month to patients in Myanmar.
The new clinic, which is scheduled for completion in March 2018 at an estimated cost of US$50,000, will feature consulting rooms, an X-ray facility, ultra sound room and a diagnostic lab. The existing Pandaw Clinics are located in villages within a 20-mile radius of the new Central Clinic in Bagan and medical teams will be able to refer patients to the Central Clinic for further diagnosis, when needed.
Pandaw founder and CEO, Paul Strachan said, “On 12 December 2017 we held the ground breaking for the new Pandaw Central Clinic at Bagan. A monk has loaned us the land within the protection of his monastery and work has begun to construct a two-storey building of 1,200sq ft.
“All medications are provided free of charge and this year saw us treat our 300,000th patient since The Pandaw’s Charity’s inception in 2010. Some of our clinics are now overrun, for example the Balin clinic near the Pakokku bridge, which can receive several hundred patients in a day, many arriving the night before to queue. We therefore took the decision to fund the building of a much-needed, eighth clinic.”
The first Pandaw Clinic was opened at Gantgar Village in 2009, and almost immediately filled with patients, many travelling long distances for treatment. Since then, Pandaw has made a remarkable difference to the rural communities of Myanmar, with past projects including the ‘Pandaw House’ for 50 female orphans at the Hpondawoo Monastery in Mandalay, the ‘Pandaw Wing’ at the U Hla Tun Hospice in Mandalay and the ‘Pandaw Clinic Barge’ which spent five years in the Irrawaddy Delta after the devastation of Cyclone Nargis.
The Pandaw Charity has also raised money to build twelve schools either on remote river islands or in villages too distant from towns to send children to school there. On Thiri Island, which lies in the Irrawaddy south of Bagan, donations have helped to build three primary schools and one high school, bringing a complete education to the island children.
Pandaw is the oldest river cruise company in Southeast Asia, offering adventure and discovery on board its 16 luxurious, small ships. Guests enjoy expeditions along the Mekong River through Vietnam and Cambodia, the Red River and Halong Bay in Vietnam, the Upper Mekong through Laos and Thailand to China and the Irrawaddy and Chindwin rivers in Burma.
For more information on Pandaw River Expeditions, call 0208 326 5620 or go to www.pandaw.com.
To donate to The Pandaw Charity, go to www.pandawcharity.com