Refugee Relief International After Action Reports

Thailand-Burma Border - October 12, 2007

Refugee Relief International. Inc., deployed a small (2 member) team to the Thai-Burma border in October, 2007, to teach the third module of the General Medical Officer course for the students sponsored by the Karen National Union, the organization representing the ethnic Karen people living in Burma (also known as Myanmar) and in refugee camps in Thailand.

The third module, out of a total of four, consisted of teaching in infectious diseases, to include bacterial, viral, and parasitic infections. The women's health, pediatrics, hematology and behavioral health portions of the curriculum were also taught during this time.

Just prior to the team's arrival in the area the Burmese people, led by the All Burma Young Monks Union, had risen in demonstrations against the military dictatorship. The demonstrations were brutally repressed, with many Buddhist monks and others killed, or captured and tortured. As a result of this unrest, some of the Karen students could not travel to the training site, and the number of trainees decreased to six. The six remaining students, however, have been fully engaged with the training. They told the team that in their daily practice they had already been using some of the techniques which had been taught in the previous blocks of instruction.

After successful review and testing, the students returned to their health posts inside their operational areas, and the team returned to the USA. The forth and final module is scheduled to be taught in early 2008, in conjunction with a larger team effort, including vaccinations and medical and surgical assistance. Once the forth module is successfully completed, the students will be certified as General Medical Officers