Htoo is a 3-year-old boy from Burma who likes to play outside with his friends. He lives with his parents and extended family, and his father works as a subsistence farmer. When money is tight, Htoo’s father works as an agricultural day laborer farming corn. Two years ago, Htoo was playing in the kitchen when he accidentally knocked a pot of boiling water onto his foot. As a result of the burn Htoo developed a skin contracture, a tightening of the skin, around his ankle. Htoo’s mother explains that "it is painful for Htoo to walk and he cannot flex his foot.” Htoo’s parents could not afford to take him to the hospital after the burn. Left untreated, Htoo will have difficulty walking as he gets older, which will affect his ability to work and earn an income. “After a successful surgery, Htoo will have greater movement in his left foot and the contracture of his toes will be released," the staff at Burma Border Projects (BBP) shares. $1500 will cover the cost of Htoo’s surgery. “I would like my son to go to school and I would like him to be a medic in the future," Htoo's mom told the BBP staff. "If my son is a medic, when my husband and I become old, he will know how to take care of us when we are sick.” Let’s help Htoo regain his mobility!
“Wai is an 18-year-old Burmese man who suffered burns over half of his body six months ago in a work-related accident,” our medical partner, Burma Border Projects (BBP) tells us. Wai worked in a gas station where he was moving supplies in the storeroom, when an explosion from fumes in the room went off. “When he regained consciousness, 18 hours later, he found himself in a critical care ward. The owner of the gas station and a friend had transported him there,” shares BBP. Wai has third degree burns on his arms and legs, but luckily his head was spared and he suffers no pulmonary damage. “Wai was in the hospital for two months and the doctors recommended a longer stay, but the gas station owner, who paid the bill for two months, refused to take on any further hospital expense. The owner didn’t extend any further compensation to his former employee,” adds BBP. “Wai has largely lost the use of his left hand and his right hand. He is capable of walking, although slowly and with a deliberate pace. He can no longer play cane ball, his favorite pastime, as he can no longer run,” BBP says. Wai needs surgery to remove the damaged tissue from the burns. This procedure will cost $1,500 and will give him increased motion and flexibility in his hands, legs, and joints. “I want to get back to helping my family," Wai shares.
Thein lives with his mother and two younger brothers in Karen State, Burma. He and his brothers are day labourers but Thein stopped working in August 2021 after he injured his right foot. In his free time, he likes to clean their house. In August 2021, Thein was cleaning a fishpond as part of his work when he injured his right foot. At home, the area around his right instep was itchy, and he scratched his foot throughout the evening. When he woke up the next day, he saw a small blister where he had scratched his instep, which became swollen and itchier. He went to two different clinics, but the oral medications and the injections he received never helped. At the third clinic he went to, the doctor applied an ointment to his right instep, which was turning black, and told him they would have to amputate his foot if the ointment did not work. Luckily, their neighbour referred Thein just in time to Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF) for assistance accessing further treatment. After BCMF referred Thein to Mawlayine Christian Leprosy Hospital (MCLH), he received surgery to remove necrotic tissue from his wound on 14 September 2021. However, two days after his surgery, the doctor checked his foot and saw that his foot was not healing, with new necrotic tissue. As Thein is still in a lot of pain despite taking painkillers, the doctor has decided that they will have to amputate his right leg below his knee on 21 September 2021. Currently, Thein's right foot is still swollen and painful. Due to the pain, he cannot sleep well and has little appetite, spending most of his day trying to sleep. Thein said, "I am so worried and scared to have my right foot amputated but the doctor told me that this is the only option left so that I can recover and be free from the pain. I have a friend whose foot was also amputated and when I told him about my condition, they encouraged me and told me that even though our feet are amputated, we can still do many things with an artificial foot. He told me not to worry. I feel better and stronger after I talked to him. I have told the doctor to go though with the amputation."
Zin Oo is a 36-year-old man who lives with his mother, younger sister, and his seven-year-old son in Mawlamyine, Burma. He is an assistant truck driver and he earns 4,000 kyat (approx. 4 USD) per day. Since the outbreak of CVOID-19, there is less work and he is only able to earn 64,000 kyat (approx. 64 USD) in a month. Zin Oo's son goes to primary school and his wife passed away last year. His mother goes house to house to see if anyone would hire her to wash their clothes. His younger sister lost her job at the factory after the outbreak of COVID-19 in Yangon. Since April, she looks after the household chores and she also works as a day laborer when she can find work. Zin Oo’s combined household income of 124,000 kyat (approx. 150 USD) in a month is just enough for their daily expenses and they cannot afford to pay the costs of basic healthcare. On August 3rd, Zin Oo was cutting firewood with an axe. While cutting the logs, his aim was off and he hit his fingers on his right hand against the log. His fingers became swollen and red after the accident, especially his small and index fingers. Without enough money to go to the hospital, Zin Oo bought traditional medicine and applied it to his fingers. He felt like his middle and ring fingers healed but his small and index fingers became more swollen and painful. Eventually when he noticed pus on his fingers, he told his friend about his problem and his friend suggested he go to Mawlamyine Christian Leprosy Hospital (MCLH), where treatment often cost less than other hospitals. At MLCH, the doctor completed a detailed assessment of his right hand and diagnosed him with cellulitis, a serious bacterial skin infection. The doctor told him that because of poor blood supply, he would need to amputate his small finger and probably his index finger as well. When Zin Oo told the doctor that he does not have any money to pay for the surgery, the doctor referred him to Watsi's Medical Partner Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF) for assistance accessing treatment. Currently, the fingers on Zin Oo’s right hand are red, swollen, and warm to the touch. His fingers hurt a lot, especially his small and index finger. He cannot sleep at night without taking pain medication. He is not able to eat food with his right hand and he feels uncomfortable eating with his left hand since he is right-handed. Aside from this, Zin Oo feels stressed about his condition. He cannot work and his mother has to help look after him since he was admitted at the hospital. His mother then has no income while he receives treatment. They are worried that they will not have enough money for food and for Zin Oo’s treatment. In the future, Zin Oo wants to work as a truck driver to earn money for his family. Once he has fully recovered, he will accept any work he can find as he looks for a job as a truck driver. Zin Oo’s younger sister shared with us, “Now, I have to take care of my nephew while my mother accompanies my brother [Zin Oo] at the hospital. I cannot work and our family is worried about money. We owe our neighbor 50,000 kyat [approx. 50 USD] and we have to pay it back with 20% interest.”
May Oo is a 24-year-old woman who was born and raised in Burma. May Oo attended school to grade eight, when she left due to a foot condition. When she was four years old, May Oo's foot started to curve and it became hard for her to walk. Her mother took her to a hospital, where the doctor performed an x-ray and inserted a rod into her foot. After six months, she complained about the pain and her mother returned her to the hospital, where the doctor told her mother that the rod was not working. The rod was then removed, and May Oo continued to experience pain and a worsening of her condition. As May Oo has grown, her foot has become increasingly deformed. She cannot walk long distances and if she does, she experiences hip pain and discomfort. She has been diagnosed with a congenital foot deformity, and recommended an below-the-knee amputation. Watsi's partner hospital, Mawlamyine Christian Leprosy Hospital, will perform the surgery for May Oo. The family is happy to be able to access treatment in their own country, though May Oo’s mother is worried for her daughter and nervous about the surgery. "When I have the amputation and have a prosthetic leg, I can work outside of the home and can generate income for my family," May Oo shared.
Nai is a 43-year-old woman who lives in a village in Burma with her husband, two daughters, and extended family. Her son lives in another town, where he is studying at a computer learning center. In early February of this year, Nai cut the bottom of her foot while walking around her village. The cut was not cleaned properly and eventually began causing pain, swelling, and discoloration. Nai visited a clinic, where she learned that the blood supply to her toes had been cut off. On February 22, Nai’s big and small toes had to be amputated. Unfortunately, five days after the amputation, a wound started to form on the top of her foot. The wound was rapidly getting worse. Because she was out of money, Nai traveled to receive additional care at our medical partner's hospital. On March 29, Nai will have the dead and infected tissue removed via amputation at our medical partner's care center, Mawlamyine Christian Leprosy Hospital. The procedure will cost $1,500. Nai and her family are grateful for the help. Nai's husband says, “We are upset for her, but we cannot do anything but get this treatment."
U Doe is a 80-year-old man from Burma. He lives with his daughter’s family and looks after his grandson. One month ago, U Doe’s big toe became black and painful. He visited our medical partner’s hospital, where the doctor explained that his foot had lost blood supply. He believed that U Doe’s chronic smoking was the cause. For ten days, U Doe took medication and underwent physiotherapy, but his symptoms did not improve. The doctor decided to amputate his toe. Although the surgery was successful, the wound did not heal correctly––again due to low blood supply. Soon, U Doe’s foot grew painful again. On December 1, U Doe’s leg was amputated below the knee. Our medical partner is requesting $1,500 to fund this procedure. "I want to free from this pain and walk again,” sys U Doe. “After completing the treatment and getting the prosthesis, I will go back to my house. I will just stay at home to take care of my grandson so that my daughter and my son-in-law can go to work again."
Shwe is a 71-year-old man who lives with his family in Burma. Shwe’s main job is to make traditional Burmese pots, however he additionally plants vegetables for his family’s consumption. Shwe has recently been diagnosed with septic arthritis of the ankle joint and septicemia in his left leg. Two years ago his left ankle joint began to swell and he noticed an obvious ulcer. He tried to treat it by visiting traditional healers and the Hpa-an General Hospital, however his visits were to no avail. Eventually, Shwe was referred to our medical partner's care center, Mawlamyine Christian Leprosy Hospital, where his diagnosis was confirmed. By having this medical condition, Shwe feels like he is creating a huge burden on his family members, especially on his son and his wife, who is experiencing health concerns of her own. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $1,500 to fund a lower leg amputation, which Shwe is scheduled to receive on June 17. This treatment will hopefully help Shwe get well again and restore his former mobility.
Kyaw is a 43-year-old man who lives in a village in Burma. Kyaw works as a motorbike taxi driver in his village. He is the sole provider for both his 17-year-old daughter and 16-year-old son. In August 2016, he was visiting his sister’s village for a wedding during the rainy season and fell while he was walking. He twisted his ankle and hurt the toes on his right foot. At the time, he did not think that it was a serious injury and never consulted a doctor. However, the pain in his foot increased, and he finally went to a clinic near his village, where the medics practiced traditional medicine. The medicine seemed to help his condition at first, but they proved ineffective over time. Kyaw finds it difficult to work as his condition continues to worsen. Kyaw's foot has become red and swollen and has caused him to walk with a limp. By February 2017, Kyaw’s two toes on his right foot had become black and ulcerated. His sister learned of his condition and insisted he seek treatment. Physicians have diagnosed him with gangrene, a condition in which body tissue dies. Gangrene can be caused by illness, injury, or infection, and it causes a loss of blood supply to surrounding tissue. If left untreated, it can spread, leading to further damage. On April 4, Kyaw is scheduled to have his foot amputated to prevent further spreading of the disease. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $1,500 to fund his procedure. Though Kyaw is nervous for his procedure, he keeps his children's well-being in mind. He says, “Even if I lose my foot, I would like to get a prosthesis and return to work. I do not like taking money from my children.”
Aung is a 22-year-old living in Mae Sot, Thailand with his mother and older brother. Sadly, Aung's father passed away many years ago. Aung and his brother have been working together as blacksmiths that build roofs and chairs. A month ago, Aung got a small cut on the big toe of his right foot. Considering it to be only a small cut, Aung did not seek treatment and continued to walk. However after two weeks, his toes started to blacken. Aung tried some traditional Burmese medicine to no avail. His infection spread and his foot is now black up to his ankle, with a hole and maggots in it. The pain is so severe that Aung is unable to walk and work. There is no other choice than to amputate his leg. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $1,500 to help fund Aung's amputation. The surgery is scheduled to take place on June 30 and, if all goes well, Aung will be able to recover smoothly. Aung remains optimistic, saying, "I am hoping to be able to continue working and someday being a manager after I recover."
Kyaw is a 58-year-old Burmese man who is experiencing swelling in his right foot due to an ulcer. Kyaw lives in Mawlamyine, Mon State, Burma (his childhood home) with two other family members and works as a day laborer. In 2016, Kyaw sustained a severe injury to his right foot. He sought treatment in Burma, and was treated at Mawlamyine Christian Leprosy Hospital (MCLH), where his leg was amputated at the ankle. Presently, Kyaw experiences pain and a fever. He was advised by a doctor at MCLH that his injury required further amputation. MCLH referred Kyaw to our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, to undergo his procedure. Kyaw is now scheduled to undergo a below-knee amputation on May 23. He needs help raising $1,500 for the procedure. He says, "I am looking forward to go back to my work after I am fully recovered. In the near future, I want to be a trader."
Moe is a 25-year-old farmer who lives with his wife in Burma. Moe experienced a severe leg fracture a few years ago. After a month, his ankle joint began to swell. The swelling has continued to increase, and his ankle is heavy and hurts when he walks. He visited a local hospital where the doctors informed him that he needs to have a below-the-knee amputation to prevent the infection from spreading and to reduce his pain. Moe is scheduled to receive his amputation on June 13 through our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund. He is requesting $1,500 to cover the total cost of his procedure. "I know I will not be able to do farming and I will work as a carpenter after I recover," says Moe.