Jue is a 25-year-old woman who lives with her family in a village in Hmawbi Township, Yangon Division, Burma. Her parents are housekeepers, and her youngest brother is a first-year university student who has been seeking work. Jue used to run a beauty salon, but had to stop working four months ago when her health deteriorated. In her free time, Jue likes to watch the news and videos relating to her work at the beauty salon. She also likes to read books and wants to write a book of her own someday. In August 2020, Jue felt pains in her stomach and chest. She would also experience difficulty breathing sometimes, and she would feel tired when she walked for a longer period of time. Jue went to the clinic in her village, where she received oral medication, but she did not feel better after taking it. She returned to the clinic several times over the course of two months, but her condition continued to worsen – the chest pain, difficulty breathing and feeling of fatigue happened more often. Jue decided to go to another clinic in North Okkala Township in Yangon in November 2020. At the clinic, the doctor listened to her heart with a stethoscope, and informed her that she has a congenital heart condition. The doctor recommended she receive a blood test, an echocardiogram (echo) and an electrocardiogram (ecg) at a hospital. After visiting a hospital to receive those tests, the doctor there told her that she was born with a hole in her heart and that she might need to receive surgery at the general hospital. However, the cost of surgery was too high. Luckily, Jue crossed paths with another former patient and was referred to Watsi's Medical Partner Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF) to seek assistance with accessing treatment. Fortunately, surgeons at our medical partner can help. On January 24th, U Win will undergo an atrial septal defect closure procedure. Once recovered, her quality of life will significantly improve and she will be able to return to working at her beauty salon. Now, our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $1,500 to fund this procedure. Jue shared, “I want to get better as quickly as possible and go back to work. I’m worried about my younger brother. He doesn’t have a job, and he needs to graduate from university. I’m also worried about Covid-19 because nobody has a job right now.”
U Win is a 54-year-old man who lives with his wife and youngest son in the Ayeyarwaddy Division in Burma. He has three sons and three daughters, with five of his children already married and working. His 17-year-old son left school because they were unable to pay school fees, and worked as a day laborer until COVID-19 happened. U Win used to work as a day laborer as well, but stopped working around two years ago due to his health condition. His family survives on 60,000 kyat (approx. 60 USD) each month that U Win's three other daughters and another son send them, enough to cover their basic expenses. In January 2012, U Win felt tired, had a headache, suffered from heart palpitations, and a rapid heartbeat. He went to a clinic where the doctor listened to his heart with a stethoscope and checked his blood pressure. U Win was told that he has high blood pressure and that he would need to take oral medication for a long time. He received an injection, oral medication, and another appointment for more medication. After he took the medication, he felt better and he went back to work. However, U Win continued to experience worsening symptoms over the next few years, returning to clinics and receiving the same treatment. He was told at one point to visit a cardiologist, but did not do so until later on. In August 2020, during another clinic visit in Yangon, the doctor diagnosed U Win with an atrial septal defect, and said that he would need to receive surgery to repair this hole in his heart. If not treated, the condition could weaken his heart further and cause lung problems later on. He was unable to receive surgery in November due to an upsurge in COVID-19 cases, and was also told the procedure would cost about 3,000,000 kyat (approx. 3,000 USD). Luckily, U Win’s wife remembered that there is a charity group in Yangon that might be able to help. The group told him about our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, to look for assistance with accessing the treatment he needed. U Win currently experiences chest pain and back pain, has no appetite, and cannot sleep well at night. He appeals for financial support for his cost of care. Fortunately, surgeons at our medical partner can help. On December 20th, U Win will undergo an atrial septal defect closure procedure. Once recovered, his quality of life will significantly improve and he will be able to return to work. Now, our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $1,500 to fund this procedure. U Win shared, “I want to get better soon so that I can work for my family again. I am worried about my family’s future because we cannot find work in the village. My son also cannot go to Yangon to find another job because of COVID-19 travel restrictions.”
Htay is a 45-year-old woman who lives with her husband and three daughters in Thae Phyu Village in Burma. Htay and her husband run a small shop selling betel nut and general groceries beside their home, however she has been unable to work due to her heart condition for the past year. Htay’s oldest daughter used to work at a factory in Yangon, but moved back home last year when Htay became too ill to wok. She now helps out at Htay’s shop while also helping with household chores. Htay’s other two daughters are students; one is in grade 10 and the other is in grade four. After she gave birth to her last daughter, Htay began to experience frequent pain in her chest and headaches. Whenever she would lay down, she also felt like she could not breathe well. She then went to Htantabin General Hospital in Yangon where she received an electrocardiogram (ecg). Later, the doctor told her that she has arthritis and Ischemic heart disease, a condition where an organ does not receive enough blood and oxygen. She was given medication and returned home. Htay said, “This medication seemed to help my condition and I continued to buy it from the pharmacy.” In February 2020, Htay’s condition deteriorated again; she felt like she could not breathe and that she was exhausted all the time. Htay and her husband went to Thiri Sandar Hospital in Yangon where she received x-rays and an echo. After checking her results, the doctor told her that she has a large hole in her heart and that she would need to have it closed surgically. Currently, Htay has difficulty breathing, mostly at night, and she feels tired especially when she uses the upstairs. She also has a rapid heartbeat. Htay told us, “I am worried about my condition and I am very sad whenever I think about it. But now I am happy to have found someone to help support my treatment. Once I have fully recovered, I will build a new shop [made of bamboo] because my old shop is starting to fall apart. I will also go back to working with my husband and I will support my children so that they can become educated people.”
Pae is a 37-year-old woman who lives in Burma with her brother and his family. Her brother owns rice and sugarcane fields. Three of his children work in Bangkok, and the youngest is in school. He donates some of his money to a fund in their town for roads and monasteries. However, he cannot afford healthcare. Two years ago, Pae moved to Bangkok to work as a housekeeper. Shortly after moving, she began to experience severe exhaustion, heart palpitations, and sweating. She sought care at a local clinic and underwent an echocardiogram. Her doctor found a large hole in her heart. Pae had to stop working because she was too physically exhausted. After just eight months in Bangkok, she returned to her home village to live with her brother. Despite using traditional medicines, her symptoms did not improve. A nurse at a nearby clinic in her village suggested she visit our medical partner’s care center, Mae Tao Clinic (MTC). In September of 2016, Pae made the two-hour trip from her village to MTC for the first time. She underwent an electrocardiogram and blood tests. She was also given atenolol, a medication to treat chest pain and hypertension. Pae was diagnosed with an atrial septal defect (ASD), a cardiac condition in which there is a hole in the wall between the two atria of the heart. On December 16, she underwent surgery to close the hole. Pae is very appreciative of her family’s support, but does not want to rely on them. She needs our help to fund this $1,500 procedure. After recovery, she hopes to return to Bangkok to earn her own income. “I want to be a normal person again,” says Pae. "I would like to do social work, like helping to clean at the monastery and helping people in their homes.”
Saw is a 30-year-old father of three who lives in Burma. He works as a day laborer, sometimes as a mason and sometimes as a carpenter, and he additionally grows food on his own farm for his family. Saw has been experiencing heart problems and, since the recent intensification of his condition, has not been able to go away for work or do any hard manual labor. This has cost him wages and the ability to provide for his family. Upon visiting the doctor, Saw was diagnosed with atrial septal defect, or a hole in the wall that separates the heart's two upper chambers. Without treatment, Saw is at risk of further medical complications and irreparable damage to his heart and lungs. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $1,500 to fund heart surgery for Saw, which is scheduled to take place on July 19. The hole in his heart will be closed, and, once the treatment is complete, Saw will hopefully be able to live much more comfortably.
Thet is a 19-year-old farmer who lives with his family in a village in Mon State, Burma. His family owns a rubber tree farm where they harvest the sticky resin and create rubber sheets to sell. A few months ago, Thet began feeling tired and experiencing chest pain and difficulty breathing. Thet tried oral medication from a local hospital, however his symptoms still failed to improve and ultimately forced him to take leave from farming. A month later, Thet decided to go to a private clinic. Following the administration of an echocardiogram, doctors diagnosed Thet with an atrial septal defect, or a hole in the wall between the two upper chambers of his heart. The cost of surgery was too high, so Thet returned to his home without treatment. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $1,500 to repair the defect in Thet's heart. The procedure is scheduled to take place on July 10 and, once completed, will greatly improve Thet's quality of life. Thet worries about his family’s finances and hopes to be able to go back to work as soon as possible. He looks forward to being able to save up for his future, saying, “I would like to save some money first, and then later have children."
Meet Khine, a 16-year-old girl who lives with her family in Burma. She works as a cleaner at her village's nursery school to help support her family. Khine shares with our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF), that earlier this year she started experiencing extreme fatigue and had difficulty breathing. Results from an ultrasound indicated that Khine has a cardiac condition, a diagnosis which was eventually confirmed by doctors at a hospital affiliated with BCMF. On September 15, Khine will undergo life-saving heart surgery to repair the atrial septal defect. With $1,500 we can help Khine to get the medical treatment she needs. "I want to go back to work so I can support my family," says Khine.
Than is a 49-year-old woman who lives with her father in Burma. She works as a fruit vendor and takes care of her father. Than’s health problems started over ten years ago, when she noticed that she had breathing problems. She tried to use traditional medicine to treat herself. At first, Than felt better, but in 2017 her health worsened. She cannot breathe well, and gets tired in hot weather. She underwent a heart examination and was told that she requires heart surgery, which is scheduled for November 20. Than said that in the future, "I want to work as a fruit vendor again and continue caring for my father." Watsi is requesting $1,500 to help fund Than's treatment.
Myint is a 34-year-old woman who lives with her husband, son, and daughter in a village in Burma. Her son is in seventh grade, and her daughter is in third grade. Myint and her husband work as day laborers on a chili farm. Currently, however, Myint's health is preventing her from working. Myint first noticed symptoms when she was 16. She felt very tired and often had difficulty breathing. Myint could not afford to visit a clinic, so she relied on traditional medicines. By the time she was 20, Myint’s health condition had grown much worse. She visited a clinic, where a doctor examined her. She learned that she had a heart condition but did not receive any treatment. In October of 2017, Myint's abdomen swelled, and she felt very tired and had difficulty breathing. She traveled to Mandalay, where she underwent a blood test and an echocardiogram and was diagnosed with atrial septal defect. She learned she would need surgery, which was prohibitively expensive. Fortunately, Myint was referred to our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund. She is now scheduled to undergo a corrective heart surgery on January 22. She needs help raising $1,500 to pay for surgery. After treatment, Myint hopes to return to work to support her children.
Myar is a 34-year-old from Pin Lounge Township, Shan State, Burma. She lives with her husband and four children who are all students. Myar and her husband work as farmers and grown rice, corn and onion depending on the season. In July 2018, Myar moved to Singapore and worked as a domestic worker. After one month of working in Singapore, Myar started to get frequent headaches and felt tired. A few days later, she wanted to go to a clinic but Myar’s employer told her not to go because the treatment cost is very expensive there. However, she feels pain in her chest and couldn’t work anymore. Myar’s sister who stays in Mae Sot asked her to come to Mae Tao Clinic (MTC) in Mae Sot. On July 25th 2019, Myar arrived to Mae Sot Clinic and was referred her to Mae Sot Hospital (MSH) for an echocardiogram. The echo result shows that Myar's heart has a hole and the doctor told her that she would need to undergo surgery. Currently, Myar feels uncomfortable while sleeping because of her chest pain. She sometimes has high fever and she also has difficulty breathing. She is tired very easily. Myar said, “When I am fully recovered, I will work hard with my husband and pay back my debt. I will also support my children so that they can receive an education.”
Mya Mya is a 40-year-old-woman who lives and work with her elder sister for a herbal medicine production workshop in Sanchaung Township, Yangon Division in Burma. They are originally from Bago Division and moved a few years ago. Since Mya Mya was 18 years old she has felt bronchial asthma and suffered from difficulty breathing. Sometimes she feels severely tired. She went to a health worker at her village and the health worker told her to go and see heart specialist in Yangon. However, at that time she did not have money to go to Yangon, so she did not go. She has only used herbal medicine for treating difficulty breathing since she was 18-year-old, which did help her feel better. For the last four months at night she has severe difficulty breathing, so she woke her sister up and asked her sister to send her to a private clinic called Yaung Chi Oo in Yangon. After the doctor's examination, she was told her that she needs to go and see heart specialist doctor. Then the doctor gave her an injection and some oral medication. Then, she went to Thiri Sandar Private Hospital on January 31, 2020 where she received an echocardiogram. The doctor told her that she has heart disease and she needs surgery. On February 5, Mya Mya went to Kan Thar Yar Hospital (KTYH) as suggested by the doctor at Thiri Sandar Hospital. The doctor at KTYH performed another echo before diagnosing her with large ventricular septal defect (VSD). The doctor at KTYH also told her that she needs surgery. Unfortunately, Mya Mya and her family cannot afford to pay for the surgery. After talking to the nurses and doctor about her problem, the nurses who know Watsi Partner Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF) refered her to BCMF. Mya May needs to stop working because of her tiredness. She is worried about her parents because if she cannot work. She shared, "If I recover from my disease, I need to work for my parents, to support them.”
Zaw is a 15-year-old boy who lives with his mother and his 11-year-old brother in Burma. Both Zaw and his brother are students, but Zaw stopped attending when his health deteriorated. Zaw has been diagnosed with atrial septal defect, which means there is a hole in his heart. He needs to undergo heart surgery to treat his condition. Fortunately, surgery is scheduled for March 12. Now, his family needs help raising $1,500 to fund this procedure.