Illness, Poverty, and Abuse of Migrants on the Thai-Burma Border: The Vulnerability of a Displaced People

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A fascinating narrative that brings the plight of minority ethnic groups from Burma to life and grounds the theoretical concepts of social determinants of health by individualizing the human dimension of these vulnerable populations and highlighting their personal situations as well as their coping skills.


“This book will be an important reference for those seeking to better understand the lives and agency of Burmese living in Thailand.[it] celebrates the extraordinary resilience of Burmese migrants – individuals, families and communities. Above all the suffering and frustration, this is a celebration and analysis of agency.”
-Ashley South,
Analyst and Consultant, Humanitarian and Political Issues,
Myanmar and Southeast Asia

“The book as a whole gives the social determinants of health a human dimension that is rarely seen, and presents important implications for consideration by those concerned with migration and human rights.”
-Professor Kim Usher,
University of New England, AU

“There are other publications by non-government organizations that tell stories about individual migrants but those stories are not complied with the research vigor that is found in this book. These portraits are based on hard facts. They are not sentimental or individualistic. These portraits are modelled on thorough observations and interviews conducted over a period of time and have been drawn by someone who has immersed herself in the context of the Burma-Thai border. Dr. Lehane’s skill renders the portraits with real life suffering and yet with human dignity. It is this suffering and dignity that strikes the humanitarian cord for the reader.”
-Dr. Mary Ditton,
University of New England, AU

“It is a powerful and unique study, with no previous research dealing with the ‘individual biographies’ of vulnerable migrants living on the Thai-burma border in describing their personal experiences and the emotions that led to migration and the migration process itself, the day-to-day setbacks and struggles to survive are revealed. The power of this work lies in the fact that Lehane gives a voice to the otherwise marginalized.”
-Dr. Glen Reynolds,
University of Sunderland, UK

Table of Contents

List of Figures
Foreword by Ashley South
Definitions/Clarification of Terms
Part 1: Preliminary Considerations
Chapter 1: Introduction and Background
Migration from Burma to Thailand
Migration and Health
Social Determinants of Health
Migration, Acculturation and Stress
Coping with Stress
The Influence of Culture
Social Support, Social Identity and Self-Esteem
Assessing vulnerability
Outline of Chapters
Part 1: Preliminary Considerations
Part 2: Migrants’ Stories
Part 3: Concluding Remarks
Chapter 2: The Approach
Experience in Thailand
The Participants
The Interviews
Analysis of Narratives
Validity and Reliability
Part 2: Migrants’ Stories
Chapter 3: Living and Dying with HIV/AIDS
Jai Son
Ei Than and Ma Hla
Ah Blai
Naw Lar Kwe
Chapter 4: The Weaker Sex?
Ei San
Aye Kyi
Naw Se Se
So Ra Jar
Ma New
Chapter 5: The Disabled and Chronically Ill
Po Kwa
Day Day
Ei Mon
Klee Thoo
Saw Thar Htoo
Ah Tun
Chapter 6: Ageing and Alone
Htoo Htoo
Hla Aye
Wah Wah
Maung Kyaw
Chapter 7: The Drop-Outs
Maung Win
Ko Gyi
Eah Paw
Dar Dar
Ma Kyi
Eah Thar
Chapter 8: Making the Best of It
Jone Ten
Ah Jaw and Naw Lar Paw
Day Poo
Ma Aye
Htoo Malar
Part 3: Concluding Remarks
Chapter 9: Analysis of Results and Discussion
Human Rights, Vulnerability and Social Determinants of Health
What Factors Cause Vulnerability in Migrants from Burma Living on the Thai-Burma Border?
Why are Some Migrants More Vulnerable than others?
What Can be Done to Address the Migrants’
List of Figures: 1-8