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.
Yi Swe is a 55-year-old woman who has been diagnosed with a cardiac condition, mitral valve stenosis. This means that a valve in her heart has narrowed and blocks blood flow. Throughout her life, Yi Swe has lived in nine different cities and towns in Burma, and for the past three years she has lived the capital. She has worked for a government agency since 1981. She lives with her two sisters. Their monthly income is enough to cover their daily expenses, but they cannot afford expensive healthcare. In 1990, Yi Swe noticed the symptoms of her cardiac condition for the first time. She grew tired easily and was sleeping poorly. She first sought care at a local clinic. The clinic gave her medication, which helped to improve her symptoms. In December of the same year, Yi Swe’s condition grew more severe. She was very tired and had difficulty breathing. She visited a hospital in Rangoon, where she underwent blood and urine tests and an x-ray. The doctor drained fluid from her lungs and performed a mitral valvotomy to open the narrowed valve. The surgery greatly improved her condition. For the next 25 years, Yi Swe’s condition was markedly better. However, in 2015, her original symptoms returned. She sought care at a local hospital. Over three visits, she underwent blood and urine tests, an x-ray, an echocardiogram, an electrocardiogram, and an ultrasound. She was advised to undergo a mitral valve replacement, and she was scheduled to receive surgery three years in the future, in 2019. Yi Swe started to look for an alternative treatment option and was eventually referred to our medical partner. On December 19, 2016, she underwent a mitral valve replacement. Throughout this whole process, Yi Swe has been working to pay for her treatments. Now, she needs help to fund this final $1,500 surgery.
Ma Nyein is a 42-year-old woman who has lived in a village in Burma her whole life. She lives with her parents, her 18-year-old son, and her seven-year-old nephew. Her daughter moved to Bangkok seven years ago to work in a food shop. Eight months ago, Ma Nyein stepped on a loose plank in the floor. The piece of wood swung up and hit the left side of her head. Soon, her left eye grew swollen and bruised. She began to experience numbness and pain in her head. She visited several healthcare centers, but all she received were painkillers. Ma Nyein's son, an eighth grader, left school to take care of her. Her condition also forced to her stop her sewing business. Finally, Ma Nyein came to our medical partner's care center, Mae Tao Clinic (MTC), in October of 2016. She was seen by an eye surgeon and underwent a CT scan on October 19. The results should give her medical team a clearer picture of her condition. Now, Ma Nyein needs $414 to fund this scan. "I would like to get well soon. I wish to open a shop at home to sell dried food and the clothes I made," shares Ma Nyein.
Hser Paw is a bright 21-year-old student from Burma. At a young age, she moved away from her village to pursue her dreams as a medic. Unfortunately, Hser Paw recently halted her studies due to challenges with her health. In late November of 2016, Hser Paw felt tingling and numbness in her left leg. A week later, the symptoms spread to the entire left side of her body. These symptoms made her normal day-to-day activities a challenge. Hser Paw was referred to our medical partner's care center, Mae Sot General Hospital, where she will undergo a full-body CT scan on December 9. The results of the scan will help her physicians diagnose the issue, which they believe is neurological. Our medical partner is requesting $414 to fund this diagnostic test. Hser Paw says, “I want to recover and continue my studies as a medic."
Zaw Win is a 17-year-old football enthusiast from Burma. He lives with his family and works at a local casino. In his spare time, Zaw Win enjoys playing football with his friends. At a game during the Karen New Year festival, Zaw Win was kicked in the arm. His bone fractured. His friends rushed him to a local clinic, but he did not receive adequate medical care. Zaw Win and his father traveled six hours to reach our medical partner's care center. There, he will undergo an internal fixation procedure on January 6. During this orthopedic operation, a metal rod is implanted to help the bone heal properly. Our medical partner is requesting $1,500 for costs associated with Zaw Win's surgery.
Khaing is a 35-year-old Burmese man. He lives in a mining town. He used to work as a gold panner, but recently his vision worsened, forcing him to stay at home. When Khaing was 15 years old, he suddenly lost vision in his left eye. When his vision returned, it was blurry. Since then, his vision has never been totally clear. At the age of 20, frustrated with his fluctuating vision, Khaing decided to seek treatment from an eye surgeon at a nearby clinic. After the examination, the surgeon diagnosed him with eye nerve damage and said that it could not be cured. Earlier this year, Khaing’s cousin suggested he seek treatment at our medical partner's care center, Mae Tao Clinic (MTC). Khaing visited MTC and was referred to our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF). BCMF sent Khaing to another care center, Mae Sot Hospital, to undergo a [CT scan](https://watsi.org/profile/c98408984ecf-khaing) that was funded by Watsi donors. The scan showed a mass on the left parieto-occipital lobe in his brain. Further diagnostic testing was needed. On December 15, Khaing will undergo another CT scan with intravenous dye. This scan will provide a clearer image of the mass and will allow his neurosurgeon to plan further treatment. Our medical partner is requesting $693 to fund this scan. Khaing says, "I am so happy that I get a chance to continue my treatment."
Ma Nyein lives in the village in Burma where she was born. She is 42, and she lives with her 18-year-old son and her seven-year-old nephew. Her daughter has worked in a food shop in Bangkok for seven years. Eight months ago, Ma Nyein had an accident inside of her house. She stepped on a loose plank in the floor, which made the piece of wood swing up and hit the left side of her head. Soon after, her left eye became swollen, bruised, and numb. When her condition did not improve, Ma Nyein visited our medical partner's care center. She underwent a CT scan, the results of which revealed a benign brain tumor. Before surgery can take place, Ma Nyein's doctor wants to perform an MRI to clarify the mass. This $814 scan is scheduled for November 24. "I would like to recover soon," says Ma Nyein. "Then, I can open my own shop at home to sell dried food and the clothes that I made."
Ma Sein is a 25-year-old woman with mitral valve disease, a condition affecting her heart. She was born in a village in Burma. However, when she was 15, she moved to Thailand to work. She worked as a day laborer, peeling and de-veining prawns near Bangkok. She met and married her husband, and together they had a baby boy. When she was 14 years old, Ma Sein began to experience extreme fatigue, which sometimes prevented her even from walking short distances. Her family purchased oral medication from a local pharmacist. This treatment helped to alleviate her symptoms, but it did not fully cure her illness. One year later, when Ma Sein was working in Thailand, she felt her heart beating abnormally. She visited a local clinic, where the doctor told her she needed a surgery. The doctor also prescribed her medication. Knowing she could not afford surgery, Ma Sein decided to rely solely on the medication. Then, one year ago, her symptoms severely deteriorated. She was extremely tired, and she began to experience chest pain. In early 2016, she stopped working entirely and returned home. Back in her village, Ma Sein spoke with a friend who told her about our medical partner. To traveled to our medical partner's hospital, Pinlon Private Hospital, to seek treatment. On January 6, she will undergo a mitral valve replacement. Now, she needs help to fund this $1,500 procedure. "I don’t want anything but a healthy life," says Ma Sein.
Htoo is a ten-year-old boy who lives with his parents and three siblings in a village in Burma. Htoo’s mother is a shopkeeper, while his father is truck driver who transports crops. In 2014, Htoo’s mother noticed a small growth on Htoo’s left cheek. Over time, the mass grew much larger. He was diagnosed with a benign tumor and underwent two surgeries to treat the mass. Even after treatment, the mass remained itchy and heavy. Htoo was referred to our medical partner's care center, Maharaj Nakorn Chiang Mai Hospital. On January 4, he will undergo a CT scan to give his doctors a clearer picture of the mass. Our medical partner is requesting $693 to cover the cost of this procedure. Htoo hopes to recover from his condition and return to school. He loves learning and hopes to become a teacher in the future. "I want to be a schoolteacher," says Htoo. "There are few teachers in my village."
Zaw is an 11-year-old boy from Burma. He lives with his parents and two younger brothers. Zaw's mother sells watermelon in their town, while his father works on construction sites and cuts bamboo for neighbors. Zaw himself is a student who just finished the fourth grade. He loves to spend his free time playing football and marbles with friends. When Zaw was nine, his mother noticed a nasal polyp, or growth, inside both of his nostrils. At night, he began to have difficulty breathing. Zaw's condition has caused him to stop attending the fifth grade. Zaw's family could not afford medication or travel to a clinic. Finally, Zaw visited our medical partner's care center, Mae Sot General Hospital. There, he will undergo a CT scan on January 11. This scan will help his doctors plan for further treatment. Zaw's parents earn an inconsistent income. They need help to fund this $1,500 procedure. His mother hopes her son will recover soon. “If I am fully recovered, I will go back to school,” Zaw says.
Kyi is a 45-year-old agricultural day laborer who raises pigs for sale. She lives with her 77-year-old mother in a small house in Burma. In January of 2016, Kyi started feeling pain in her lower abdomen. She was also experiencing uncomfortable gynecological symptoms. Kyi was diagnosed with cervical polyps. Her doctors recommended that she undergo surgery, but she could not afford treatment. Kyi lived with her condition for another year, until a friend told her about our medical partner's care center, Mae Tao Clinic (MTC). Kyi made the journey to MTC and connected with our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF). On January 16, Kyi will undergo a total abdominal hysterectomy at BCMF's care center, Mae Sot General Hospital. BCMF is asking for $220 in funds to cover the cost of surgery to treat her cervical polyps. "When I am well, I look forward to going home to look after my mother," says Kyi.
Aung is a 22-year-old man who was born in Burma but currently works in Thailand. His father passed away when he was very young, and his mother later remarried and now lives with her own family. Aung and his younger sister live with his uncle, aunt, and maternal grandmother. Both Aung and his sister stopped going to school after fourth grade. Three months ago, Aung started to have a constant stomachache. He would usually feel better after getting some rest, so he did not bother going to see the doctor. A month later, the pain started to become more severe. His eyes were jaundiced, and his legs were heavy. His employer took him to our medical partner's care center, Mae Tao Clinic (MTC). He was diagnosed with a common bile duct stone. A biliary obstruction repair is scheduled for January 8. This procedure will relieve Aung's symptoms. Aung's uncle and younger sister work as agricultural day laborers during the harvest season. His aunt looks after the family. Aunt also started working as a construction worker last year. Occasionally, when he saves enough, he sends some money back home. However, the family still needs to borrow money to pay for regular expenses. For this reason, our medical partner is requesting $1,500 to fund Aung's treatment "I want to be cured of my illness as soon as possible, so I can get back to work," says Aung.
Myint is a 21-year-old man from Burma. His family farms beans and radishes in their village, and his parents also work periodically picking fruit. Myint aspires to become a police officer. When Myint was 17 years old, his peripheral vision started to fail. Over the subsequent two years, his vision continued to deteriorate. After an initial diagnosis of nerve inflammation, a CT scan revealed a benign mass on his pituitary gland. Following surgery, his condition improved. However, his vision problems returned six months ago. Now, he can only see shadows. He also experiences memory difficulties. These symptoms prevent him from living independently, studying, or working. Myint traveled to visit our medical partner's care center. On January 11, Myint will undergo an MRI scan, which will enable his doctor to plan further treatment. Myint’s mother is hopeful for her son's recovery, saying, "When my son was healthy, he enjoyed reading. Unlike now, he was very talkative. I hope that he will recover from this medical condition. I want him to graduate from university studies, and then he wants to become a senior police officer."