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Funeral services hit 10-year high: Kyaw Thu

New Delhi (Mizzima) – Funeral services at a local charity have hit a ten-year high, a spokesperson of the Free Funeral Service Association (Rangoon) said today in Burma.

charity-clinic-ygn1sThe association was established by well-known actor Kyaw Thu in January 2001 and had provided 14,384 free funerals in Rangoon division during 2010.

“We had such a high number of funerals last year because of the summer heat. Rangoon and the provinces recorded high temperatures in April and May.  We supported many funerals during April, sometimes up to 80 per day”, Kyaw Thu told Mizzima.

But the actor said 2008 was the busiest year for them overall, especially in the aftermath of cyclone Nargis victims, he said.

The association has total 19 vehicles including association-owned hearses that provide free funeral services in Rangoon Division for people unable to cover the costs of cremating relatives.

The association also runs the Thukha Free Clinic providing free basic medical care with a team of 50 doctors, 60 support staff and over 300 volunteers.

The clinic treated 34,722 patients and donated 196 bottles (units) of blood in 2010.

“We gave a variety of treatment including orthopaedic, paediatrics, obstetric and dental care, and provide x-ray and ultrasound imaging services”, Kyaw Thu said.

The clinic also provided hospital beds, wheel chairs, crutches and oxygen cylinders free to patients.

To help address summer water shortages, association and clinic volunteers provided 68,000 gallons of water, and installed water pipes, tube wells and 30 brick water tanks to 26 villages in Pegu, Pyi, Paukkhaung, Kyaukpadaung, Dhalla and Thanlyin townships.

“Donors are the real benefactors for these patients and families. We provide free funerals and clinic services with their donated money”, the actor explained.

Burmese in exile endowed Kyaw Thu the with ‘Glory of Myanmar’ award for his leadership and social work. Military authorities banned him from acting after offering alms to protesting monks in September 2007.

According to the most up to date information available from the World Health Organisation (WHO), Burma spent only 2.3% of GDP on health services in 2003. However, WHO notes a recent per capita increase in expenditure on health services. 

The main sources of money for health services are the government and private households as well as community contributions and overseas aid, but in some parts of Burma, little or no services are being provided.

Rural health and humanitarian relief agencies say in parts of eastern Burma, community health groups are providing the only forms of preventative and curative care to the sick. This kind of support is regularly disrupted by armed conflict and troop movements.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 05 January 2011 19:48 )  

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