Kyaw Myat is a five-year-old boy from Burma. He lives with his family in a village in Sagaing Division. Kyaw Myat’s father is a subsistence farmer and sometimes he also works as a day laborer on other villagers’ farms. His mother is a homemaker and takes care of Kyaw Myat’s brother at home. When he was two, Kyaw Myat started to walk. But the following year, his limbs became weak and he could no longer walk properly. Kyaw Myat’s head had also gradually increased in size and he could not control his urine. He was diagnosed with hydrocephalus and Arnold-Chiari syndrome and received treatment for it in 2019. He now needs to undergo further monitoring and a check-up to make sure he is progressing well in his treatment. Doctors want Kyaw Myat to undergo an MRI, an imaging procedure that uses magnetic fields and radio waves to produce images of bodily organs. This scan will hopefully help doctors monitor his condition and adjust his treatment plan. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $968 to cover the cost of Kyaw Myat's MRI and care, scheduled for January 28th. "If everything is ok with my son, I won't need to worry as much about his future," said Kyaw Myat's father. "I will feel relieved."
Sar is a four-year-old girl from Thailand who lives with her parents and three sisters. Her mother is a homemaker, looking after household chores, while her father works as an agriculture day laborer. In her spare time, Sar likes to play with toys with her friends. Seven months ago, when Sar was on the way to buy snacks, a hen suddenly flew over to her and poked her right eye, protecting her baby chickens. Although Sar's eye turned red, her parents did not take her to any hospitals. They bought eye drops for her, but the medicine did not make her feel any better. Sar underwent a CT scan at Mae Sot Hospital but the doctor was not able to help her. She was referred to Chiang Mai and there she underwent an MRI. After the MRI, the doctor recommended surgery to remove her right eye. She received enucleation of her eye on July 25th, 2019. After enucleation, the doctor recommended an MRI to see if there is any problem post operation. She is now admitting in the hospital and will undergo the MRI on 25th February, 2020. Doctors want Sar to have an MRI, an imaging procedure that uses magnetic fields and radio waves to produce images of bodily organs, to help them continue to follow an appropriate treatment plan. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $968 to cover the cost of Sar's MRI and care, scheduled for February 25th. Sar's father said, "My daughter is healthy and playing happily with friends after we came back from treatment in Chiang Mai. The doctor told me that they will do MRI for my daughter to check if there is any abnormal growth or problem after surgery and if there is no problem after the MRI result, the doctor will implant an artificial eye in the next eight month for my daughter."
Ree is a 44-year-old man who lives with his wife, two sons, and his daughter in Mae Ra Ma Laung Refugee Camp in Thailand. Ree and his family used to live in a village in Hpa-pun Township in Karen State, Burma. However, due to conflict between armed groups in his area, they fled to the refugee camp in 2006. Every month Ree’s family receives 1,244 baht (approx. 42 USD) from The Border Consortium (TBC), an organization that provides support to refugees in camps. He also works as a caregiver for the elderly in the camp, for the organization Catholic Office for Emergency Relief and Refugees. He earns 1,100 baht (approx. 37 USD) each month for this. All of his children go to school in the camp while his wife works as a cook at one of the schools. On March 14, 2020, Ree slipped and fell on his right forearm while he was carrying a heavy load. When he got up, he was not able to move his right hand and he thought he had broken his forearm. Ree did not seek help at the camp’s medical centre and instead wrapped traditional herbal medicine onto his right forearm. As time passed, Ree could still not use his right arm and the pain in his arm did not go away. Eventually, on May 10th, he went to the camp’s hospital, run by Malteser International Thailand (MI). At the hospital, he was diagnosed with a fractured right forearm that had not healed properly. He was referred to the local Mae Sariang Hospital and received an x-ray on May 12th. The result indicated that he had fractured one of the two bones in his forearm. The doctor at the hospital then referred Ree to Watsi's Medical Partner Care Center Chiang Mai Hospital (CMH) for further management and treatment. The following day, MI staff brought Ree to CMH. Once he met with the doctor, the doctor told him that he will need to receive surgery for his arm to heal properly. Currently, Ree is still in pain and his right arm is sore and not in use. With the help of our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, Ree will undergo surgery to reset his fractured bones and ensure proper healing. The procedure is scheduled for May 21st and will cost $1,500. His arm will no longer be in pain and he hopes he will be able to go back to his old job helping the elderly in the refugee camp. While smiling he said, “I have been struggling to do tasks for the past month without using my right hand which is hard as I am right handed. I cannot wait to use my right arm again!”
Saw Eh is a 25-year-old man from Thailand. He lives with his wife and two children in a refugee camp in northern Thailand. He works as a security guard in the camp while his wife looks after their two young children. His family receives 821 baht (approx. 27 USD) each month from an organisation called The Border Consortium as part of their rations, and he also earns 700 baht (approx. 23 USD) in a month from working as a security guard. Their monthly income is just enough to pay for their basic expenses. In the early morning of June 1st, 2020, at around 9:00 am, Saw Eh left the camp to forage for bamboo shoots in the jungle. While climbing over some slippery boulders, a few larger rocks from above him rolled down towards him. Unfortunately, Saw Eh could not avoid the falling rocks and was hit on the head and right leg. He was knocked unconscious and had no idea how long it took him to regain consciousness. When he did, he was in severe pain and cried out loudly for help. Luckily, a man was nearby and heard him shouting for help. The man fetched a few others to help him carry Saw Eh to the clinic in the refugee camp. At the clinic, the medic directly referred Saw Eh to Mae Sariang Hospital, as they knew they could not treat him in the camp. When he arrived at Mae Sariang Hospital, he received an x-ray, which confirmed that both bones in Saw Eh's right lower leg are fractured. The doctor then referred him to a hospital in Chiang Mai immediately, as he would need to receive surgery at a larger hospital, to ensure his leg heals properly. Currently, Saw Eh's right leg is in pain as well as his head. He cannot walk nor move his right leg. With the help of our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, Saw Eh will undergo surgery to reset his fractured bones and ensure proper healing. The procedure is scheduled for June 1st and will cost $1,500. The surgery will stop Saw Eh from being in pain and will help his leg heal properly. He will then be able to walk again.
Naw Aye is a 4-year-old primary school student from Thailand. She lives with her family in a refugee camp in northern Thailand. In 2003, her parents fled to the camp due to the unstable situations between the local armed group and the government army near their village in Burma. Their family receives 2,169 baht (approx. 72 USD) as part of their camp food support from an organization called The Border Consortium. Despite receiving food support as well as free basic health care and education in the camp, Naw Aye’s father has had to earn additional income to cover their expanses. Therefore, he has opened a small shop in front of their home, through which he earns 1,000 baht (approx. 33 USD) in a month. On 29 June 2020, Naw Aye was playing outside when she fell down and landed on her left elbow. Immediately after Naw Aye’s father took her to the camp's clinic. The doctor examined Naw Aye and suspected she had broken her elbow but would need to receive an x-ray to confirm the diagnosis. She received an x-ray that confirmed the fracture and was referred to our partner Burma Children Medical Fund in order to access treatment. Currently, Naw Aye's left arm is in pain and she cannot bend it or lift anything. With the help of our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, Naw Aye will undergo surgery to reset her fractured bones and ensure proper healing. The procedure is scheduled for July 10th and will cost $1,500. After she receives surgery, she will be no longer be in pain and she will be able to use her left arm again. Once she returns home she will be able to continue her studies. Naw Aye's father shared, "Naw Aye loves to play outside. She also likes to color and draw when she comes home from school. When she gets bored of playing outside with her friends and drawing, she likes to watch cartoon clips."
Naw Htee is a 30-year-old woman from Thailand. In 2006, Naw Htee and her family fled from Karen State, Burma to Thailand because there were conflicts between the armed groups and the country's military in their village. She now lives in a refugee camp with her family. In 2010, Naw Htee felt a severe toothache while she and her parents were visiting her village in Burma. She went to the nearest local clinic, where she had her molar teeth extracted. After the procedure, Naw Htee was in extreme pain; she could not even open her mouth as she used to. She was told that pain after tooth extraction is normal and that the pain will be diminished if she takes painkillers. Naw Htee tolerated the pain and hoped for the pain to be gone. Since then, Naw Htee could barely open her mouth. Naw Htee was too afraid to tell about her condition to anyone. She carried this burden for almost 9 years, until she decided to seek help. She then visited the clinic in the refugee camp. After trying oral medication and since her condition remained the same, she was referred to Mae Sariang General Hospital (MSGH) in July 2019. There, she received an x-ray, and the doctor diagnosed her with Ankylosis of the Temporamandibular joint [TMJ], stiffness of a joint due to abnormal adhesion and rigidity of the bones of the joint of jaw. She was then referred on to Chiang Mai Hospital (CMH) as MSGH does not have capacity to treat her condition. Once at CMH, the doctor told Naw Htee that she needs to undergo a special x-ray prior to receiving treatment. Doctors want Naw Htee to undergo a CT scan, a procedure in which x-ray images taken from several angles are combined to produce cross-sectional images of the body. This scan will hopefully help doctors diagnose her condition and formulate an appropriate treatment plan. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $469 to cover the cost of Naw Htee's CT scan and care, scheduled for February 5th. Naw Htee mentioned, “I wanted to be a healthy, strong and supportive mother, even without the support of their father.”
Khin is a 39-year-old woman who lives with her family in Hpa-An Township, Karen State, Burma. Both her children are in preschool. She and her husband are subsistence farmers, growing rice during the rainy season on rented land. The rest of the year, her husband collects leaves used to make roofs, works as a daily labourer or collects branches to sell. Khin was born with a scar the size of an ant bite on her upper lip. Her parents thought that it would disappear or heal on its own but the scar developed into a growth and increased in size. Her parents passed away when she was young and after that she went to live with her brother’s family. By the time she was around 20 years old, the growth had become large and soft, covering the area between her upper lips and her nose. When the pain became unbearable in 2005, her uncle dropped her off at Mae Tao Clinic (MTC) in Thailand, a free clinic close to where her uncle used to work. At this point, the growth had become so large that dragged her upper lip down and extended into her nostrils. At MTC, she was seen by doctors and medics, before she was diagnosed with a hemangioma. At this point, the growth had worsened, and she was bleeding from her lips. In April 2006, Khin went to Chiang Mai Hospital and had the hemangioma removed surgically. The growth later has returned. Overtime, the hemangioma has increased in size and become hard. It has now expanded into Khin’s nostrils, especially her left nostril, which causes her to have difficulty breathing at times. She feels uncomfortable but is not in pain. Sometimes she also feels like she has a blood clot in her nostrils during her nosebleeds. Because the nosebleed can start at any time and can last anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes, her life revolves around managing her nosebleeds. She is unable to work or sleep properly, and if she is about to have a nosebleed, she is unable to eat. The nosebleeds have also affected her ability to earn an income for her children and continues to impact her social life. “When I socialise, I do not feel comfortable and some people think I have a disease that I can infect them with,” said Khin. “So, I hope to get better after surgery, and I hope I will no longer have nosebleeds. I don’t want to bleed, and I want to socialise with my friends and family happily. [Right now] my friends won’t even touch me.”
Soe is a father of three children from Thailand. He and his family relocated to a refugee camp in 2007 due to conflict between armed groups around their village. Although his family receives a small ration at the camp, it is not enough, so Soe does gardening and farming at a nearby Thai village to bring extra income for his family. Whenever Soe has free time, he loves to play cane ball or helps his wife with their household chores. On January 11th, when Soe was coming home from work with his friend on his friend's motorbike, the brakes failed when they were going downhill. The accident caused a fracture in the small bone located in front of his right knee joint. He is in pain and it is difficult for him to walk without using crutches. With the help of our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, Soe will undergo surgery to reset his fractured bones and ensure proper healing. The procedure is scheduled for February 20th and will cost $1,500. After this treatment, Soe will be able walk again without any assistant devices. This will also allow him to get back to work so he can provide for his family. Soe said, “I am desperate to be able walk again and work for my children. I cannot imagine how life would turn out if I could not walk anymore.”
Taung is a one-month-old baby girl from Burma. She lives with her parents and seven-year-old brother in a village in Hpan-An Township in Karen State. Her parents farm land owned by their relatives for free and grow rice for primarily their own consumption. Taung’s father also works as an agricultural day laborer. Taung was born at home with the assistance of a traditional birth attendant (TBA). As soon as she was born, the TBA noticed that she has a soft large sac protruding from the top of her head. Currently, the sac protruding from Taung’s head is continuously increasing in size. Sometimes, she cries so much her mother thinks that she is in pain. However, she responds to noise around her, and sleeps and breastfeeds well. Doctors want Taung to undergo a CT scan, a procedure in which x-ray images taken from several angles are combined to produce cross-sectional images of the body. This scan will hopefully help doctors diagnose her condition and formulate an appropriate treatment plan. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $469 to cover the cost of Taung's CT scan and care, scheduled for March 15th. Taung’s mother said, “Over time, I have become increasingly worried about her head, whether it would become normal and if it could be treated. We do not have money to treat her, so we came to Mae Tao Clinic. I cry every time I touch her head and it is very hard for me to hold her. I feel like I am very unlucky that both of my children do not have good health. I want her to become healthy like other children.”
Nay is a 13-year-old boy from Burma. He lives with his mother, stepfather and two brothers in a village in Thanbyuzayat Township, Mon State. Nay, his stepfather, and his brother all work as day labourers. Nay was born at home with the help of a traditional birth attendant and he was born with a growth between his eyes. Gradually, the growth increased in size. His parents did not take him to any clinic or hospital because they could not afford to pay for his treatment. Nay feels embarrassed and shy because the growth continuous to increase in size every year. He sometimes has pain and watery eyes. Doctors want Nay to undergo a CT scan, a procedure in which x-ray images taken from several angles are combined to produce cross-sectional images of the body. This scan will hopefully help doctors diagnose his condition and formulate an appropriate treatment plan. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $469 to cover the cost of Nay's CT scan and care, scheduled for March 5th. Nay’s stepfather said, “I love him so much, like my own son and I am very upset [about his condition]. I hope that my son will get treatment and get better soon.”
Myat is a two-month-old boy who lives with his family in Hpa-An Town, Karen State, Burma. His father passed away when his mother was two months pregnant with him. Myat’s mother is a homemaker and she takes care of him at home. All of his sister and brothers are students. Myat’s grandfather drives a tricycle taxi. On 6 June 2019, Myat was born without any complications at HGH. Since he was born, his mother noticed that he has been passing white coloured stools, but she did not do anything about it because she thought it was normal. When he was just over a month old, his mother noticed that Myat’s navel was bigger than normal. His mother then took him to HGH. The doctor examined his navel and told his mother not to worry too much and he also told her come back if it becomes bigger. A few days later, Myat’s mother noticed that his navel has become bigger and his mother took him to the hospital again. The doctor again took a look at Myat’s navel and advised his mother to take him to a hospital in Yangon for treatment. However, Myat’s mother did not have money to go to Yangon. On 6 September 2019 Myat received an X-ray at Mae Sot Hospital (MSH) and was given a diagnosis of a bulging navel and biliary atresia, a childhood disease of the liver in which one or more bile ducts are abnormally narrow, blocked, or absent. Currently, Myat still passes white coloured stools. He also has a bulging navel which never goes away. His mother is very much worried for him, especially that she just learned about his liver disease. Myat’s mother said, “I would like him to be like other children. I feel bad for him but at the same time happy that an organization Burma Children Medical Fund will help him for his treatment.”
Ngwe is a 63-year-old woman from Burma. She and her husband work on their small farm, growing rice for their own consumption. In the off season, they grow cucumbers in their backyard and sell them so they can buy food. They have three children, and they are all married and live on their own. In August 2019, Ngwe’s granddaughter accidentally hit her in her right eye. Although her eye became painful and swollen, the symptoms receded after three days. In mid October, while Ngwe was cultivating in her farm, Ngwe began to experience a blurry vision in her right eye. She also has pain in both her right upper and lower eyelids. These symptoms have made it increasingly difficult for her to see clearly. Ngwe was diagnosed with retinal detachment, a condition in which the retina pulls away from the supportive tissue in the eye, resulting in vision loss. If left untreated, she could lose vision completely. Ngwe is scheduled to undergo surgery to reattach her retina on December 17th. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $1,500 to cover the total cost of her procedure and care. After his surgery, Ngwe's vision will hopefully be restored, and she will resume her daily activities comfortably. Ngwe said, “I’ve always been careful not to be in debt. But now, I had to borrow money from a neighbour! If not my eye but some other body part, I would not even seek treatment. It’s a difficult feeling. I need my eyesight back so that I can move around more easily and be more productive with my work.”