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By Fr. Joachim Ye Maung, SDB

Anisakan, Myanmar, 19 June 2019 -- The 50 year-old tradition of Anisakan Salesians caring for the poor and sick in the neighborhood was given a new start on 3 June, with the opening of the 'Fr. Giacomin Clinic' through the initiative of the Provincial House community with the support of the Planning and Development Office (PDO). After three days of intense prayers before the opening, the Salesians gave thanks for all benefactors and volunteers involved in this project: Raymond and Joyce Family, Martin and Geri as well for many others.

The Giacomin Clinic is located in the Salesian compound at Anisakan, with two volunteer doctors: Han Zaw Htun M.B., B.S. (Mandalay) and Thu Thu Nyein M.B., B.S. (husband and wife). Through them the Salesians will contact two more doctors from Pyin Oo Lwin. The Clinic will open 3 days a week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) 5-7 PM, when people are usually free and back from work. One College student volunteer is keeping the register and the records during office hours. So far, the basic equipment and medicines have been provided.

The history of the Clinic goes back to 1957, when the Nazareth Aspirantate in Anisakan opened a small infirmary for the boys attending the 'Nazareth Seminary', and services slowly extended also to the local population with a small clinic. Thanks to the regularity and quality care offered to the poor and sick people around Anisakan area our services became a very much appreciated social work serving hundreds of local people of any culture and religion, with majority of them Buddhists. Thanks to the personal interest and commitment of the late Fr Fortunato Giacomin, who was based in Anisakan from 1968 until his death in 2000, this ministry flourished. He gave his heart and soul to this ministry that maintained a quite high level of health care of the people.

The two spacious rooms of the clinic, at the entrance to Nazareth Aspirantate, were well-equipped with medicines. Three volunteer medical doctors from Pyin Oo Lwin (nearby town, where our Postnovitiate is now located) came 3 times a week and offered free medical services. When they were absent, Fr Giacomin would dispense medicines according doctors' prescriptions. The Salesians also offered free transportation for patients from distant areas. However due to lack of financial support after Fr. Giacomin's death, these services slowly faded. With the reopening of the Clinic we reconnect to the 50 year-old tradition and to the heritage of the late Fr. Giacomin.

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