Colar is a 53-year-old woman who lives with her husband in Karen State in Burma. She has two sons who are students across the border in Mae Sot, Thailand. Both Colar and her husband are subsistence farmers but are no longer able to work on the farm due to their poor health. Their limited income comes from breeding and selling pigs and goats. In June 2018, Colar began to suffer from significant lower abdominal and back pain, constipation, headaches, frequent urination, blood in her urine and nausea. Her neighbor advised her to treat the pain with traditional medicine, initially believing this was caused by the fruit she was eating in the forest. However, after a week of severe pain, Colar lost consciousness and her neighbor called her brother who works as a medic at Mae Tao Clinic (MTC). Her brother advised them to bring Colar to MTC for treatment. At MTC, Colar underwent a blood test, urine test and ultrasound afterwards, the doctor at MTC diagnosed her with a renal stone in her left kidney and advised her she would need surgery. Colar still suffers from constant pain and discomfort, she is very worried about the upcoming surgery, her health, and how she is going to support her husband and two sons who are still students. Colar said the constant worry for her health and her husband's is causing them significant anxiety and depression. When she feels well enough, she likes to forage in the forest for fruits and vegetables and tend to her garden. When Colar recovers from surgery and her health improves, she hopes to grow enough fruit and vegetables to feed her family and to sell.
Leap is a 60-year-old rice farmer from Cambodia. She has two sons and five daughters, and she enjoys playing and taking care of her ten grandchildren. One year ago, Leap developed a cataract in her right eye, causing her blurry vision. She has difficulty seeing things clearly, recognizing faces, and going anywhere outside. When Leap learned about our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre, she traveled for four and a half hours seeking treatment. On March 10th, doctors will perform a phacoemulsification cataract surgery and an intraocular lens implant in her right eye. After recovery, she will be able to see clearly. Now, she needs help to fund this $229 procedure. Leap said, "I hope that I can see better and recognize things and will be able to go outside and plant rice again."
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.”
Skylar is a 3-year-old from Kenya. His mother performs manual labor and does laundry for people in their neighborhood and his father works at a construction site. Skylar is their only child. Skylar was born with hypospadias, a congenital abnormality that causes urinary dysfunction. Without treatment, he will continue to experience uncomfortable symptoms and will be at risk of infertility. Fortunately, Skylar is scheduled to undergo corrective surgery on June 23. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $770 to cover the total cost of his procedure and care. Skylar’s mother shared, “I don’t know what to do now so any financial support offered will be of great help to us.”
Soti is a farmer from Kenya. Soti is a widow and mother of four with many grandchildren. Her husband died 28 years ago while she was still in her early 40’s. She became a strong woman for her children and took care of them. Ten years ago, Soti developed blurred vision in her eyes which is related to muscular degeneration. On February 27th she fell on her left hip while she was walking to the farm due to her poor vision. She is not able to walk and is in pain. Fortunately, surgeons at our medical partner can help. On March 4th, Soti will undergo a fracture repair procedure, called an open reduction and internal fixation. This procedure will help her heal and walk again. Now, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $968 to fund this procedure. Soti says, “I want to get out of bed and walk again, please pray for me and support my surgery.”
Khin is a 25-year-old man from Thailand. He lives with his wife and his friend in Mae Pa Village in the north of the country. Khin and his wife moved from Burma searching for better job opportunities. His wife works in a factory as a seamstress. Khin used to work as a day laborer but since his accident he has not been able to work. His friend works as an agricultural day laborer but he does not share his income with Khin and his wife. In his free time, Khin loved to play caneball with his friends and listen to music. Khin currently has a colostomy and shared that he does not like having one. He feels embarrassed and he avoids his friends. He worries what his friends will think so he always stays at home since he received the colostomy. Aside from his symptoms, he feels sad that he cannot work and that he has to depend on his wife’s income. Furthermore, because of the COVID-19, the factory his wife works at has reduced their hours of operation. Khin underwent a colostomy, in which the end of the colon was brought through an opening in the abdominal wall. This surgery is often performed to bypass bowel malformations, but colostomies are usually temporary and may call for reversal. In Khin's case, his colostomy requires reversal in order to restore bowel function and prevent future complications. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $1,500 to cover the cost of a reverse colostomy for Khin. The surgery is scheduled to take place on August 10th and, once completed, will hopefully allow him to live more comfortably and confidently. Khin said, “I feel sad that I cannot work and have to depend on my wife’s income. When I was admitted at the hospital my wife had to accompany me which also reduced the salary she received.”
Kyomukama is a 51-year-old woman from Uganda. Kyomukama is a mother of seven and is a small-scale farmer while her husband is a primary school teacher. Their firstborn is now 31 years old and is married already. All their other six children are in school and the cost of their school fees is a major challenge for the family. Kyomukama started having backaches about five years ago. She visited different clinics and could only get tablets to relieve her pain. This pain has persisted over time and has now spread to her legs, abdomen and joints. She came to Watsi's Medical Partner Care Center Rushoroza Hospital to seek medical advice. At Rushoroza, she presented with chronic pelvic pain and scan results show she has intra-uterine fibroids. If not treated, pain could stop her from doing her day to day survival activities and her quality of life will continue to be be affected negatively. Kyomukama can no longer do heavy work and has no peace at all due to her pains; her production in agriculture has been reduced. During her free time, she likes making handcrafts but has now started making them full time since she can’t go to the fields to practice farming. She is seeking financial support for the surgery. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $228 to fund Kyomukama's surgery. On October 7th, she will undergo gynecological surgery at our medical partner's care center. Once recovered, Kyomukama will be able to resume her daily activities free of pain and her quality of life will improve. Kyomukama says, “My family cannot afford the surgery charges and I am in a lot of pain. I will resume farming as soon as possible once given treatment.”
Yoem is a 57-year-old rice farmer from Cambodia. Yoem is married and has three daughters and one son. Her husband is also a rice farmer. Yoem enjoys listening to the monks praying on the radio and at the pagoda. Three years ago, Yoem developed a cataract in her right eye, causing her blurred vision, tearing, and photophobia. She has difficulty seeing things clearly, recognizing faces, and going anywhere outside. When Yoem learned about our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre, she traveled for five hours with her daughter seeking treatment. On October 15th, doctors will perform phacoemulsification and an intraocular lens implant in her right eye. After recovery, she will be able to see clearly. Now, she needs help to fund this $229 procedure. Yoem said, "I hope I can see clearly after my surgery so I can go back to my work at the rice farm and travel outside on my own without help."
Chum is 56-year-old farmer from Cambodia. Chum lives with her daughters, who work at a garment factory. Together they take care of Chum's first grandchild. Chum's husband passed away fourteen years ago. When it is not planting season, Chum cooks for her family, and enjoys watching Thai dramas on TV. About five years ago, Chum developed a pterygium in both eyes, causing her blurred vision, irritation, and constant tearing. She feels a burning sensation in her eyes all day long. Pterygiums are non-cancerous growths of the conjunctiva, a mucous layer that lubricates the eye. The growths occur when the conjunctiva is exposed to excessive sun damage and the cells grow abnormally over the pupil. When Chum learned about our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre, she traveled for three hours seeking treatment. Chum needs a surgical procedure to remove the abnormal conjunctiva from the cornea surface and replace it with a conjunctival graft to prevent recurrence. The total cost of her procedure is $216. This covers medications, supplies, and inpatient care for two days. The procedure is scheduled for June 4th. Chum said, "I just want this burning feeling to be gone, and I hope that I can get clear vision as well. After the surgery I will spend a lot of time with my grandchild and work again."
Komugisha is a middle-aged mother and farmer from Uganda. About three years ago, she started having lower abdominal pains, bleeding, and general body weakness. She is worried about her condition and self-conscious of how others may react to her symptoms. She has not been able to seek treatment anywhere else due to limited finances. However, she heard of Watsi's Medical Partner Program at Nyakibale Hospital and opted to seek care. She has been diagnosed with a premalignant cervical lesion and doctors recommend a total abdominal hysterectomy. She has a history of infertility after suffering an ectopic pregnancy that affected her fallopian tubes. Without the planned treatment, she is at risk of further complications including advanced cervical cancer. Komugisha is a mother of one child who is now in the seventh grade. She tends to her farm, planting maize, beans, and potatoes for family consumption and often selling the surplus to supplement her husband's income. Her husband works in a saloon and they together have three children, with two being step-children. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $219 to fund Komugisha's surgery. On October 6th, she will undergo gynecological surgery at our medical partner's care center. Once recovered, Komugisha will finally be able to resume her daily activities free of pain. Komugisha shared: “I hope that once I have undergone my surgery, I will regain my health once again and will be able to resume farming after a complete recovery.”
Lon is a 59-year-old rice farmer from Cambodia with four sons, one daughter, and ten grandchildren. Her husband left many years ago. Lon is living with her daughter and grandchildren. She enjoys listening to the monks pray on the radio and spending time with her grandchildren at home. Three years ago, Lon developed a cataract in her right eye, causing her itchiness, tearing, and blurry vision. She has difficulty seeing things clearly, recognizing faces, and going anywhere outside. When Lon learned about our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre, she traveled for two hours seeking treatment. On May 13th, doctors will perform a phacoemulsification cataract surgery, and an intraocular lens implant in her right eye. After recovery, she will be able to see clearly. Now, she needs help to fund this $229 procedure. Her daughter said, "I hope that my mom's eye will be better, then she can plant rice again and will be able to go to the pagoda by herself."
Seng is a 68-year-old rice farmer from Cambodia. She has one son, one daughter, and four grandchildren. She likes listening to monks pray on the radio, reading the Buddhist religious text, and doing housework at her free time. Six months ago, Seng developed a cataract in her left eye, causing her itchiness, tearing, and blurry vision. She has difficulty seeing things clearly, recognizing faces, and going anywhere outside. When Seng learned about our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre, she traveled for two and a half hours seeking treatment. On April 29th, doctors will perform a phacoemulsification cataract surgery and an intraocular lens implant in her left eye. After recovery, she will be able to see clearly. Now, she needs help to fund this $229 procedure. "I hope that my surgery will recover my vision well. I want to see better so I can read, travel, and see my grandchildren grow up," Seng said.