For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
August 7, 2008
Statement by Mrs. Laura Bush After a Visit to Mae Tao Clinic
Mae Tao Clinic
Mae Sot, Thailand
In Focus: Trip to Asia 2008
1:31 P.M. (Local)
MRS. BUSH: I want to introduce all of you, if you didn't meet her before, to Dr. Cynthia. Dr. Cynthia left Burma after the 1988 crackdown, which, as you know, the 20th anniversary of that is tomorrow, August 8th. She founded this clinic here to work with migrants. There are a lot of people, a lot of Burmese people who cross the border every day to work here in Thailand, and then there are more Burmese people who live in Thailand and work in Thailand.
And so she founded this clinic to give -- make sure their health needs were addressed. And as you can see, as you walked around with us, that a lot of babies are born here every year; that a lot of people have come in from Burma because of a needing of land mine -- needing of prostheses for an injury that they got from a land mine.
You can also see there's a lot of NGOs involved in here. You saw the doctor, the Scottish doctor who's doing the eye surgery who comes a few weeks a year to remove cataracts. I can't imagine anything more wonderful than that, to allow people to be able to see again. I think that's really particularly wonderful.
But one of the things that we brought to Dr. Cynthia are nets, mosquito nets. Malaria is a very serious problem here on the border, on the Thai-Burma border. So we -- Nothing but Nets, with help from PMI, the President's Malaria Initiative, is giving 10,000 nets, 10,000 mosquito nets to this part of Thailand. Five thousand will be here at the clinic and 5,000 will be at the refugee camp where we were before.
My staff worked to bring just hygienic supplies, and I also want to thank Tom's Natural Products from Maine, because when they found out we were doing this, they -- I wanted to be able to give biodegradable soaps, and they put together a big amount of supplies for you as well, and I want to thank them for that.
My staff, the First Lady's staff, gathered school supplies, and so we have a lot of school supplies as well to deliver. And I'm proud of them for getting that together.
We're going to go on now, we're running late, and so I'm not going to take -- have a chance to take questions from you all now, but for those of you who are on the plane later, maybe we can talk a little bit more about this.
But I just want to thank you all for coming with me. I want the people of Burma to know that the people of the United States want to help in whatever way they can; that the people of the United States are aware of the situation, the very repressive government in Burma and the human rights violations in Burma. And we want to do what we can to help. So that was why I wanted to come here while President Bush and I were in Thailand and I had the chance to come up here.
Thank you so much, Dr. Cynthia. Thank you for your wonderful, wonderful work for people here. God bless you, and God bless your work.
I first met Dr. Cynthia by video conference. Last December I did a video conference in here to the clinic.
So thank you all. Thank you so much, and God bless you.
Q How is it to personally meet her now?
MRS. BUSH: How is what?
Q How is it to personally meet her now instead of on video?
MRS. BUSH: Yes, exactly. Very nice to get to meet her in person. Thank you all, appreciate it.
END 1:35 P.M. (Local)