Medical assistance is inaccessible to many people living in Burma because of the high cost of treatment and lack of free healthcare. There are also an estimated 2 million Burmese people living in Thailand unable to access the Thai healthcare system.
BCMF is one of the few organizations that has a strong enough relationship with the relevant Thai authorities to facilitate the transportation to and treatment of Burmese people at Thai hospitals.
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."
Soe is a 35-year-old Burmese man who lives in a refugee camp with his wife and four daughters. His family moved to the camp to access education for his daughters. In his free time, Soe enjoys tending to his small garden. In 2009, Soe began to feel tired all the time. He had difficulty breathing, eating, and sleeping. His stomach swelled, and he experienced unexplained dizziness. When he visited a clinic, he was given medication but received no explanation of his condition. Over the next few years, Soe managed his symptoms with medication. After undergoing ultrasounds and x-rays at a hospital, he was diagnosed with chronic heart failure, atrial fibrillation, and severe mitral valve stenosis. He was referred to our medical partner’s hospital. On December 13, he underwent a mitral valve replacement. Soe used to work as a day laborer, but his condition has prevented him from working. His wife supports the family by selling vegetables that they grow on their small plot of land. They also receive rations from the camp. Soe is requesting $1,500 to fund his healthcare. Let’s help support his family!
Aye Than is a 45-year-old Burmese woman. She lives with her mother and siblings in a village close to the Thai-Burma border. At the age of 40, Aye Than started experiencing frequent headaches and a stiff neck. For five years, she treated her symptoms with medication from a local pharmacy. Recently, Aye Than was picking up a bucket of rainwater when she started to feel dizzy and could no longer stand. She sat down to rest, but she found she could no longer open her left eye. After several visits to different hospitals, she was referred to our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF). Through BCMF, Aye Than was transferred to Maharaj Nakorn Chiang Mai Hospital. She underwent several diagnostic tests, including two CT scans––[one](https://watsi.org/profile/17128140c65d-aye-than) of which was funded by Watsi donors. The results of her tests showed an arteriovenous malformation with a proximal flow-related aneurysm and a fistula. In simpler terms, there was an aneurysm in Aye Than's brain. With this finding, her doctor performed an embolisation procedure on December 14. During this procedure, blood vessels were selectively blocked to treat her condition. Now, BCMF is requesting $1,500 in funding. “I am looking forward to getting better, so I can continue to work with my mother and resume my Buddhist practices: meditation, going to the monastery on full moon days, and maintaining the alter in my home," says Aye Than. She continues, "Without the donors, there was no chance for me to be treated properly. Thank you very much for your help."
Kyaw Zwar is a 38-year-old man with a brain meningioma, or a benign brain tumor. He and his wife live in in Burma. He works six days a week in a mechanical workshop, and his wife makes a living weaving mats. In 2006, Kyaw Zwar began to experience troubling symptoms, including sharp pain in his head and blurry vision. He visited many hospitals, but he could never afford treatment. Finally, a cousin told him about our medical partner's care center, Mae Tao Clinic, on the Thai-Burma border. Kyaw Zwar was transferred to Maharaj Nakorn Chiang Mai Hospital, where he underwent a diagnostic [MRI](https://watsi.org/profile/138eb404d21f-kyaw-zwar) test supported by Watsi donors. There, he learned about his brain meningioma. He will undergo surgery to remove the tumor on December 25. Our medical partner is requesting $1,500 to fund this procedure. "We just want him to get well," says Kyaw Zwar's wife. "We feel like there is some hope now."
Wai Wai is a 48-year-old woman from Burma. She lives with her mother and younger sister. They own a small shop, in which they sell goods made from bamboo. Eight years ago, Wai Wai started to experience pain in her joints. She was diagnosed with rheumatic arthritis. She visited a clinic, where she received injections for the arthritis. After a year of receiving injections, her pain subsided. Wai Wai did not experience any health problems until March, when she began to cough and have difficulty breathing. She grew tired easily, and her joint pain returned. She experienced strong heart palpitations, which sometimes prevented her from sleeping. In May, Wai Wai visited a hospital and underwent a diagnostic echocardiogram. She was diagnosed with mitral valve stenosis, a narrowing of the heart's mitral valve. Inflammatory diseases, such as Wai Wai's rheumatic arthritis, can affect the connective tissues of the body, particularly those in the heart. Her doctor recommended surgery, but she she could not afford treatment. She tried using traditional medicines, but her symptoms did not improve. Fortunately, Wai Wai was referred to our medical partner. She is now scheduled to undergo a mitral valve replacement on December 23. Wai Wai hopes to get well soon. She plans to help her sister with their business, and resume her religious activities, including meditation and teaching children about Buddhism. “I’m very happy now," says Wai Wai.
20-year-old Tha Zin had been in poor health since 2014. She had difficulty breathing and sleeping, and she experienced nausea after every meal. She visited a hospital, where she was diagnosed with nasal polyps. Despite her use of traditional medicines, her symptoms did not improve. With time, Tha Zin's vision became blurry, and her eyes swelled. In January of 2015, Tha Zin underwent surgery for her nasal polyps. Unfortunately, one month later, her eyes began to swell again, and she lost her vision. She could only differentiate between light and darkness. For this reason, she was forced to drop out of school. In July of 2016, Tha Zin was seen by an eye doctor, who informed her that she had a neurological problem. She visited a neurosurgeon, who ordered an MRI and discovered a benign tumor in her brain. On December 14, her doctor removed the tumor from her brain. Tha Zin's family cannot afford this treatment. They have already sold all of their jewelry and land to pay for her previous treatments. Our medical partner is requesting $1,500 to fund Tha Zin's healthcare. "I am glad I get to know the details of my health problem," says Tha Zin. "I feel a lot better now."
Zin is a twelve-year-old girl with chronic osteomyelitis in her hip joint. She lives with her parents, four brothers, and two sisters. Zin is currently in seventh grade at school. Zin’s parents own and work a rice field and garlic farms. Her two older siblings also work as day laborers on other farms. Still, the family has to borrow money to pay for fertilizer and to rent tractors and other farm equipment. In February of 2014, Zin began to experience discomfort in her hip. She visited a general hospital and underwent an X-ray. The doctor diagnosed her with tuberculosis and attributed her hip pain to untreated tuberculosis. She was prescribed anti-tuberculosis medication. On a recent visit to the hospital, Zin learned that she needed surgery to treat her hip pain. She had osteomyelitis, an infection in her bone. She could not walk properly, sit for long periods of time, or sleep on her side. On December 15, she underwent a hip replacement surgery. Our medical partner is requesting $1,500 to fund this procedure. “I want to finish school and become an educated person," says Zin. "I want to be a medical doctor or a nurse, because I know how it feels to be a patient.”
Pyae Phyo is a 36-year-old Burmese man. Until recently, Pyae Phyo worked as a truck driver, transporting grocery goods across the country. Unfortunately, the demanding work schedule was detrimental to his health. In early 2016, Pyae Phyo came down with a bad fever and was taken to his local hospital. He could not undergo a full evaluation due to the high cost of a CT scan. Since then, he has not received treatment, and his symptoms have only grown worse. Fortunately, Pyae Phyo is scheduled to undergo a CT scan on November 28. WIth the results of the scan, his doctors will be able to properly diagnose his condition. Our medical partner is requesting $379 to fund this test.
Than Than is a 32-year-old woman who lives in Burma with her parents and her two children. Her husband passed away three years ago, so Than Than supports the family. She sells flowers around her village. When she is out, her mother looks after her children. Six weeks ago, Than Than began to feel sick. She had been experiencing lower back pain since age 15, but the pain had grown severe. She sought treatment at the village clinic without success. A doctor at a local hospital administered an ultrasound and diagnosed her with a kidney stone. Than Than knew she needed surgery, but she could not afford healthcare. Fortunately, a friend suggested she visit our medical partner's care center, Mae Tao Clinic. She received medication and is scheduled to undergo a nephrolithotomy on January 4, 2017. During this procedure, surgeons will remove her kidney stone. Now, our medical partner is requesting $1,500 to fund her treatment. "I look forward to having the surgery," says Than Than. "I hope to become healthy again, so I can continue to work for my beloved family."
Chong is a nine-year-old boy from Thailand. He lives with his mother, who works as an agricultural day laborer, planting and harvesting corn and beans for a plantation owner. They live in a hut on the plantation owner’s land. Chong’s mother supports the family as a single parent. She cannot afford to send any of her children to school. Chong helps his mother with household chores, cooking meals or collecting water from a nearby pond. Some days, he accompanies his mother to work, where he helps her carry bags. A year after Chong was born, his mother noticed an abnormal condition in a sensitive area of his body. Chong complained of pain, so his mother brought him to the hospital. There, the family learned about our medical partner. Chong was diagnosed with a right inguinal hernia and hydrocele. He is scheduled to undergo a repair surgery on January 4, 2017. Our medical partner is requesting $1,500 to fund this procedure. Chong loves to play games of marbles with his friends. He also loves to cook. His mother says that his best dishes are fish paste salad, stir fried dishes, and soup. Even when he is not feeling well, Chong always wants to help his mother. In the future, Chong hopes to stay in Thailand to support his mother. “I would like to find a job here,” he says, “so that I can help my mother.”
24-year-old Hla Hla lives with her family in Burma. Her parents owned a fruit shop, but they are now retired. Her oldest sister inherited the shop and works there to support her family. Hla Hla also has an older brother and two younger sisters, who are still in school. Hla Hla stays at home doing housework for the family. She spends her free time listening to Burmese songs. She also loves cooking. Two months ago, Hla Hla was walking uphill when she felt her heart beating strangely. She also felt more tired than usual, so she had to walk slowly. She visited the hospital, where she was diagnosed with a heart valve problem called mitral regurgitation, which causes a reversal of blood flow inside the heart. Knowing surgery was too expensive for the family to afford, Hla Hla’s doctor referred her to our medical partner. Hla Hla’s current symptoms include fatigue, back pain, and loss of appetite. Fortunately, she is scheduled to undergo a mitral valve replacement on January 4. She needs help to fund this $1,500 procedure. After recovery, she hopes to continue doing housework at home.
Maung Pay is a 25-year-old man from Burma. He lives in a village with his father, his stepmother, and his younger brother. His father owns a rubber plantation, and he also grows sesame. Maung Pay helps his father on the plantation, but he does not have any income of his own. In November, Maung Pay was in a motorcycle accident. He sustained many cuts from the tall grasses along the side of the road. Soldiers transported him to a nearby hospital, where the staff sutured his wounds but could not stop the bleeding. Muang Pay and his father crossed the border into Thailand to seek treatment from our medical partner’s care center, Mae Tao Clinic (MTC). Maung Pay was still bleeding when he arrived at the clinic. A medic examined his right foot and found two bone fractures. He stayed at MTC for three days before he was sent to our medical partner’s hospital, Mae Sot General Hospital, for an x-ray. The x-ray showed that his toes were broken, so the doctor inserted metal rods onto his toes. Maung Pay gained function in his foot, but he was still in pain. On December 22, Muang Pay underwent an internal fixation procedure to fully repair his fractured toes. Now, he needs help to pay his $1,500 medical bill. “If I am fully recovered, I would like to go back to work with my father and my stepmother,” says Muang Pay.