Burma Children Medical Fund provides access to medical care for people on the Thai/Burma border through its partner.
Medical assistance is inaccessible for 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.
More information is available on the Burma Children Medical Fund website.
Saw Myo is a 14-year-old from Burma. He lives with his grandparents, parents, two sisters, and brother. His grandparents are retired. His father farms paddy and rubber trees on their land, while his mother is a homemaker. Saw Myo and his siblings are all in school, but Saw Myo recently had to stop attending due to a medical condition. Saw Myo has had a lump on his lower spinal cord since he was nine years old due to an injury from a slingshot. He received medicinal ointment from a traditional healer that helped with the stiffness and prevented further growth. However, Saw Myo fell off his bicycle a few years later, and the lump grew in size. His family took him to several clinics, and an X-ray indicated a potential spinal cord problem. The doctors recommended a computerized tomography (CT) scan, but due to COVID-19 policies, Saw Myo could not receive the scan. His parents continued to try and help Saw Myo receive treatment but learned that his condition could not be treated locally. Saw Myo's mother then contacted a neighbor who worked as a medic at a clinic in Burma and began raising money for his care. The doctors want Saw Myo to undergo an MRI, which is an imaging procedure that uses magnetic fields and radio waves to produce images of bodily organs. This scan will help doctors diagnose his condition and formulate an appropriate treatment plan. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF), is helping Saw Myo receive this treatment. On November 15th, he will undergo an MRI. BCMF requests $814 to cover the cost of Saw Myo's MRI procedure and care. Saw Myo's mother said: “We have been so worried since we saw the mass increasing in size. It was tiring to seek treatment in Burma, and we now have borrowed a lot of money without Saw Myo having received treatment."
Hnin is a determined 5-year-old girl from Burma. In her free time, she likes to draw pictures. Hnin lives with her grandmother and brother in Mon State. She goes to kindergarten, her brother goes to primary school, and her grandmother is a washerwoman. Hnin's parents, who work as day laborers in Thailand, also send them money every month to help support basic needs. Hnin was born with club foot of her left leg. With the help of Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF), she underwent casting at Mawlawmyine Christian Leprosy Hospital (MCLH) to straighten her foot. Hnin's family was told to bring her back when she was five years old as she would need another surgery to fully correct her clubfoot. Currently, Hnin still has a cast on her left leg. When she walks, she walks on the side of her left foot. Because of this, she cannot play on the playground or keep up with her friends. Without treatment, Hnin's condition will continue to cause her discomfort and will further limit her movement. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $1,500 to cover the cost of surgery for Hnin, which is scheduled to take place on November 18th. This procedure will elongate her Achilles tendon, allowing increased motion at the ankle joint. Hnin said, “My left leg is so heavy with the cast, but I am not scared to have the operation on my leg. I want to have surgery."
Na is a 54-year-old homemaker from Thailand. She lives with her husband and her niece in a refugee camp. Her husband is a mechanic and her niece helps her with household chores since her vision worsened. In her free time, she likes to pray and listen to the news. She also enjoys helping her husband repair bicycles and motorcycles. Na has cataracts. The vision in her right eye is very blurry and she can only perceive light with her left eye. Her niece now has to do most of the household chores since her vision is so poor. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $1,500 to fund eye surgery for Na. On November 27, doctors will perform a lens replacement, during which they will remove Na's natural lenses and replace them with an intraocular lens implant. After recovery, she will be able to see clearly. Now, she needs help to fund this $1,500 procedure. "I have no children to take care of me and my husband," Na said. "Because of this, I want to receive surgery as soon as possible so that I can recover."
Su is 10-year-old girl who lives in Thailand. Both of her parents work for a community based organization helping others in their area. In her free time, Su likes to draw pictures and play with her friends. Su was born with clubfeet and a dislocated hip. She received corrective surgery in Chiang Mai with the help of our medical partner BCMF after she was born. During her last visit to the hospital when she was young, the doctor told her mother that they only had to return to the hospital when she outgrew her clubfeet correction shoes. However, her parents could never bring her back. In additional to financial constraints, their legal documents expired, and later when they had legal documents, they could not go to Chiang Mai due to covid-19 travel restrictions. In June 2022, Su started to experience pain in her right foot whenever she walked more than 10 minutes. She also experienced pain in her right hip for the first time when she walked. The doctor at Mae Sot Hospital diagnosed her with a dislocated hip and referred her to the larger hospital Chiang Mai for further treatment. In October an MRI was performed for Su and it was determined that she may need two surgeries: one for hrt hip and another for her clubfeet condition. The first surgery is for a hip replacement and the doctor scheduled her for surgery on November 25th so she can be out of pain as quickly as possible. Her family needs $1500 for her hip replacement surgery. Su's father said, "I am hopeful for my daughter to receive surgery soon. After surgery, I hope that she will be able to walk like other children and she will not be shy when she grows up. Now, when she goes to school, some of her friends tease her that she cannot walk properly like other children."
Chit Htun is a 21-year-old man from Burma. He lives with his mother and two younger sisters and a younger brother. His father is deceased and his mother is a homemaker. She takes care of the household and her children. All of his younger siblings are students, while Chit Htun and his eldest sister are doing an online general education diploma. Chit Htun has two aunts who help the family financially as they can. He also has a former teacher who is able to contribute some money consistently to the family. This normally has been enough to cover the family’s basic necessities but since the February 2021 coup, prices have increased significantly and there is not always enough money to pay for food. Sometimes the family has free meals at the local monastery. Chit Htun was born with spina bifida as well as hydrocephalus at the Maternal and Child Hospital in Myawaddy in Burma and when he was just over a month old, he had a stent inserted in his brain to control hydrocephalus. He has multiple conditions arising from the spina bifida, including bilateral atrophy to his lower legs with club feet, a neurogenic bladder requiring a suprapubic catheter, a neurogenic bowel requiring a colostomy, along with scoliosis. Despite the number of surgeries he has undergone, and the pain he endures, he is a pleasant and engaging young man, thoughtful and independent. In Oct 2021, Chit Htun fell down from some stairs at his home. Though there was no loss of consciousness at the time, he hit his head with the fall. Since that time, he has been experiencing headaches and dizziness with occasional loss of consciousness. His mother brought him to the hospital in Yangon and a scan showed that the original shunt was in place. A second shunt was inserted, and it appeared to help with the loss of consciousness, but headaches and dizziness continued to be a problem. After the second shunt was cleared of partial blockage, Chit Htun still continued to have headaches and dizziness and then in October, he had a seizure, accompanied by nausea and vomiting. His family cannot afford to go for further investigation and treatment so that they came to Mae Tao Clinic across the border in Mae Sot, Thailand. Doctors want Chit Htun to undergo a CT scan, a procedure in which x-ray images taken from several angles are combined to produce cross-sectional images of the body. This scan will hopefully help doctors diagnose his condition and formulate an appropriate treatment plan. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $414 to cover the cost of Chit Htun's CT scan and care, scheduled for November 28th. Chit Htun said, “My condition is interrupting my education and my future. When I always have to stop my studies for treatment, it makes it difficult to continue.”
Khin is a 28-year-old woman from Burma. She lives with her parents and three older sisters. Her family runs a small grocery store, and her older brother works in a factory to help provide for their family. However, Khin shared that their combined income is not enough to pay for expenses and basic health care. In April 2020, Khin started to experience dizziness, headache, and nausea. Her vision also became blurred and sensitive to light. At first, she thought she just needed eyeglass and visited an ophthalmologist. During that visit, her ophthalmologist tested her eyes and shared that her symptoms may be due to a brain tumor. Currently, Khin is still experiencing the same symptoms but they have been gradually worsening over time. She feels weak and has pain in her neck. Khin visited our medical partner's hospital for further review. The doctors want her to undergo a CT scan, a procedure in which x-ray images taken from several angles are combined to produce cross-sectional images of the body. This scan will hopefully help doctors diagnose her condition and formulate an appropriate treatment plan. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $414 to cover the cost of Khin's CT scan and care, which is scheduled for November 30th. Khin said: "I become angry very easily because of my blurred vision. Before that, I was so patient. I am so worried about becoming blind completely, I don't want to live this way. I don’t want my family to be in trouble because of me. I feel a bit relieved to hear that there will be a donor to help pay for my treatment cost."
Saw Kyaw is a 25-year-old man living in Thailand. He currently lives with his older sister, younger sister, mother and her niece. He moved from Burma to Thailand for job opportunities three years ago. He was working in a shop and was able to support two younger siblings who are studying in Karen State in Burma. Around the end of July, he was playing football with friends when he slipped trying to kick the ball. His lower right leg was very painful, but he was still able to bear weight lightly on that leg. At the time, Saw Kyaw didn’t have health insurance, so he went to a clinic instead of the hospital. There they examined his leg, gave him some medication for the pain and advised him to go to the hospital for an X-ray if the pain persisted. Saw Kyaw rested for two days and then went back to work. That day at work, Saw Kyaw was carrying a heavy load when he slipped again. This time, the pain was severe, and he was unable to stand on his right leg. He went to a hospital in Bangkok where they X-rayed his lower right leg and told him that the tibia was fractured. The doctor recommended surgery where they would use a metal rod to connect the bones and set them in the correct position to heal. Saw Kyaw was told that the surgery would cost between 40,000 to 50,000 baht (approx. 1,330- 1,660 USD). He told them that he did not have insurance and was unable to afford the surgery, so they gave him pain medication and bandaged up his leg. He returned to the hospital three times and each time the doctor recommended surgery, but Kyaw was unable to figure out how he could get that kind of money. His employer was not helpful and refused to assist with the cost of the surgery. Since Saw Kyaw didn’t have the money, he decided to just rest and see whether the bones would heal on their own. Saw Kyaw recalled that he had fractured his femur when he was young, and he had used a traditional medicated oil to help heal the injury. He hoped that he could use this on his new fracture. But now he cannot walk properly and cannot work since his accident. He is stressed about his condition and his future. With the help of our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, Saw Kyaw will finally undergo surgery to reset his fractured bones and ensure proper healing. The procedure is scheduled for December 7th and will cost $1,500. He will able to go back to work after surgery Saw Kyaw said, “I would like to go back to Bangkok and find work again so I can go back to helping my family; my siblings who are studying in Burma, and also my mother who is getting older. I also want to save some money for my future. I will not work at the same place though as they have not been kind or caring since I had the accident.”
Sai is a six-year-old kindergarten student. He lives with his parents and siblings (a 12-year-old brother who is in grade four and a 11-month-old sister) at Mae Sot District, Tak Province in Thailand. His father is a daily worker and works as a blacksmith. Sai’s mother is a homemaker who looks after the children at home. Sai was born with a healthy delivery however just after his sixth birthday, his mother noticed that Sai’s left eye was red. He told her that it was not painful, so they did not worry about it. In June 2022 though, his mother saw that there was a white dot in the pupil of Sai’s eye. When his mother covered Sai’s right eye and asked if he could see, he answered that he did not see clearly. Sai had his eyes checked at Mae Tao Clinic and the medic suspected that he had a cataract. He was sent to Mae Sot Hospital (MSH) for further investigation. He was referred to the ophthalmology department which later the doctor diagnosed him with mature left eye cataract. Currently, Sai’s vision in his left eye is blurry and he has trouble seeing the board when he is in the classroom. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $1,500 to fund lens replacement surgery for Sai. On December 9th, doctors will perform a lens replacement, during which they will remove Sai's natural lens and replace it with an intraocular lens implant. After recovery, he will be able to see clearly. Now, he needs help to fund this $1,500 procedure. Sai’s mother said, “We cannot afford to take a loan (for the surgery) because we would have to pay the interest. There is less work during the pandemic and so it makes things very hard to have such a large loan. My words cannot express the thanks that I feel. It is so lucky for us to have the assistance from BCMF and donors.”
Myo is a 14-year-old boy from Burma. He lives with his parents in a village in Karen State. His mother is a homemaker who is currently eight months pregnant. His father is a subsistence farmer, but he also works as a day laborer to earn money. Myo is in grade six and he enjoys playing football in his free time. Two years ago, Myo developed a pain in his arm which he noticed while playing football with his friends. Right away he was in a lot of pain, but his arm did not look broken. At first, the pain lessened, but gradually the pain worsened and his upper left forearm became swollen. Myo could also feel a mass under the swollen area of his left forearm. Myo and his father went to Chiang Mai Hospital, where he received a MRI and other tests, as well as a biopsy which confirmed that the tumor in his forearm was cancer. Now he needs surgery to remove the tumor, and he will need a chemo after surgery. The enlarged mass in Myo's left forearm has not increased in size, and only causes him pain when he lifts something heavy or when he does any physical activity with that arm such as washing his clothes or cleaning. Although he can take a shower by himself, using only his right arm makes it challenging. When he plays with his friends, he needs to protect his left forearm to prevent getting hurt. Myo's family sought treatment through our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund. He is now scheduled to undergo mass removal surgery on December 8th, and his family needs help funding the $1,500 cost to cover his procedure and care. He said, “I feel sorry for my mother and I pity her that she has to stay alone with the new baby. I also feel sad that I cannot go to school this year. I want to recover quickly and go back to see my brother and mother.”
Ashin Mala is a 30-year-old monk who lives in a monastery in Karen State, Burma. He became a monk a year ago. As a monk, Ashin usually doesn’t have the right to save money and keep cash. But sometimes, worshippers donate some money, and he keeps it to use just in case. The monastery usually provides him two meals a day donated by the Buddhist followers. In October, one day, he visited a house of a member of ethnic armed group in the village. A kid was playing with a pistol and accidentally shot the gun in the wall. Unfortunately, the bullet ricocheted and hit his left eye. The villagers sent Ashin Mala to Myawaddy General Hospital immediately. At the hospital, an X-ray was done and showed that a piece of the bullet had entered below his right eyeball. The doctors stitched the gunshot wound and gave some medications. There was no ophthalmologist at hospital. Ashin visited the hospital regularly and got wound dressing as well as medication to relieve pain. But the pain didn’t go away. He has lost sight in his left eye. Pain and itchiness, and sometimes a burning sensation, is present in the right eye and surrounding area. Hot tears are coming out from both eyes during blinking occasionally whenever he reads book for a long time. Due to the lack of ophthalmologist, he was provided only with medications and eyedrops. Now doctors want Ashin Mala to undergo a CT scan, a procedure in which x-ray images taken from several angles are combined to produce cross-sectional images of the body. This scan will hopefully help doctors diagnose his condition and formulate an appropriate treatment plan. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $414 to cover the cost of Ashin Mala's CT scan and care, scheduled for December 9th. Ashin Mala said, "I don’t want to blame anyone. It is my destiny. I am not sure my condition can be treated or not. But I am so happy to be treated here because I think I can have better health care here than in Burma. I don’t expect complete recovery, but it will be great if I can see with both eyes. In the future, I want to learn more about Dhamma and hope to attend Buddha University in the future."
Paw is 52-year-old woman from Thailand. She lives with her husband, two daughters and son-in-law in a refugee camp. She and her husband are homemakers, while her eldest daughter and son-in-law are teachers. Her youngest daughter is a student. She has cataracts and she has blurred vision in both of her eyes. Because of her poor vision, she has difficulty walking around the refugee camp and she has had to stop weaving and selling traditional Karen clothes from her home-region of Burma. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $1,500 to fund lens replacement surgery for Paw. On December 29th, doctors will perform a lens replacement, during which they will remove Paw's natural lenses and replace them with an intraocular lens implant in each eye. After recovery, she will be able to see clearly. Now, she needs help to fund this $1,500 procedure. "I hope that my treatment will be successful. I want to be able to see well. I want to continue weaving clothes in the future, and I want to live with my family for the rest of my life,” she said.
Da is a 64-year-old woman from Thailand. She lives alone and she is retired. Her daughter, who works as a day laborer, supports her with basic living cost and takes care of her when she is sick. On January 5th, after Da finished taking a shower, she tried to pick her shirt from the bathroom floor and she suddenly slipped. She fell down on the floor and broke her left femour bone. Currently, she experiences pain in her left thigh. She can’t move her left leg and can’t even sit down. She can only slightly move her toes. There is no external wound but the swelling has gotten worse, which is a concern for her. With the help of our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, Da will undergo surgery to reset her fractured bones and ensure proper healing. The procedure is scheduled for January 9th and will cost $1,500. This procedure will free Da from her pain, and help her walk and look after herself again. Da said, "I was capable of doing my household activities before the accident. After that, I wasn’t even able to sit properly. I had to lie down all the time because my thigh is so painful. My daughter can't go to work because she has to take care of me." She also added, "After the treatment, I want to take care of myself without anyone’s help. I don’t want anyone to get busy because of me.”