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.
Paw is a 24-year-old woman from Thailand. Originally from Burma, Paw, her husband, their three daughters and her parents fled in March 2021 after the Burmese military shot rockets into their village. In Thailand, as refugees, they cannot work, and have temporarily moved in with Paw's brother and his family. They receive rice from her brother's neighbors, while her brother's family provides them with vegetables and curries. In July 2021, Paw's parents and her two older daughters went back to their village when they felt it was safe to do so. Meanwhile, her husband and her three-month-old baby have stayed with her while she receives treatment in Chiang Mai. Two years ago, Paw noticed a mass on the right side of her neck. Her neighbor suggested she apply a natural remedy, but unfortunately, the mass remained and grew over time. In September 2019, she visited a local hospital in Thailand with her husband, but the surgery recommended was too expensive. She experiences pain near the site of the mass, and the mass is still growing. Paw sought treatment through our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF). She is scheduled to undergo mass removal surgery on August 16th, and now she needs to raise $1,500 to cover the total cost of her procedure and care. Paw shared, “I felt embarrassed and very upset when I first noticed that I had this problem. I will feel a lot better after my surgery because I have needed to receive it since I first went to see the doctor in 2019. In the future I want to look after my children and send them to school.”
Taw is a 43-year-old teacher. She and her husband work at the same Bible school and their daughter is enrolled in that school's nursery program. In her free time, she enjoys singing and reading with her students. She enjoys growing organic vegetables at home, and growing her own vegetables helps reduce household expenses. On August 19th, Taw was walking home with part of a banana tree she had just cut down for her family's dinner. It was drizzling and the dirt road was slippery. She slipped and fell, breaking both bones in her left forearm. She experiences pain that worsens when she moves her arm. She is worried about being admitted to a hospital for surgery, because she has never been admitted to a hospital before. With the help of our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, Taw will undergo surgery to reset her fractured bones and ensure proper healing. The procedure is scheduled for August 20th and will cost $1,500. This procedure will help Taw's arm heal properly. She will no longer be in pain and she will be able to go back to school and look after her daughter. Taw shared, "I hope this treatment will allow me to go back to work and take care of my daughter again."
Naw Eh is a 11-year-old girl who lives with her mother, five brother and two sisters in a refugee camp. She and her siblings study in the refugee camp while her mother weaves traditional indigenous Karen shirts to earn extra income for their household. In her free time, Naw Eh loves to play with her younger brother at home. Sometimes, she will play with her friends close to her house. She wants to be an English teacher at a primary school in the future. In late July 2021, Naw Eh went out to buy some snacks from a shop. On the way to the shop, she slipped and fell on the muddy road. When she fell she hurt her left leg. Since she was able to walk slowly, the medic in the camp did not think her leg was broken and only gave her pain medication. On 19 August 2021, Naw Eh lost her grip when she was sitting down in a chair and fell down. This time she could not stand up or walk. After a doctor at Mae Sariang Hospital diagnosed her with a fractured femur, she was referred to Chiang Mai Hospital for further treatment. At that hospital, the doctor told Naw Eh's brother that they want to do an MRI of her leg to check if she has any underlying conditions that caused her to break her femur so easily. With support from Watsi, the MRI was possible and now the surgeon has determined that surgery is required to help her leg heal properly. Currently, Naw Eh suffers from pain in her left leg and she cannot move or put weight on that leg. If she moves her leg, the pain increases. Her brother needs to help her use the bedpan as she cannot walk to the toilet. He also needs to help her get dressed. She is taking pain medication to help her sleep at night. She is worried that if her condition is not treated properly, she will never be able to walk again. She misses going to school and wants to continue her studies in grade four once her school reopens. With the help of our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, Naw Eh will undergo surgery to reset her fractured bones and ensure proper healing. The procedure is scheduled for September 2nd and will cost $1,500. After surgery, Naw Eh will no longer experience pain in her leg and she will be able to get herself dress and be able to walk to the toilet. Naw Eh said, "I am worried that if I do not receive surgery and receive proper treatment, I will not be able to walk again."
Taw is a 43-year-old teacher who lives with her family in the refugee camp. Taw and her husband work at the same school and their daughter is also enrolled there in the nursery program. In her free time, Taw enjoys singing and reading with her students. Taw also loves to grow vegetables around her house, and she is very proud that the vegetables she grows are organic. Growing her own vegetables also helps to reduce her household expenses. Last month, Taw was walking home with a branch from a banana tree she had just cut down to cook for dinner. That afternoon it was drizzling and the dirt road was slippery. Taw slipped and fell onto her left arm, breaking both bones in her left forearm. With the help of Watsi donors, she underwent surgery to insert a metal rod into her forearm at the end of August at Chiang Mai Hospital. A few days after her surgery, Taw's wound got an infection and the doctor had to perform another surgery to remove the rod from her arm. Once the infection cleared up with the help of antibiotics, the doctor scheduled another surgery to have the rod reinserted into Taw's arm to finally help her heal. Taw’s left arm is still in pain. She is in pain whenever she sits down, and the pain increases when she moves her arm. If she lies down and puts her left arm on a pillow, she feels better. With the help of our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, Taw will undergo surgery to reset her fractured bones and ensure proper healing. The procedure is scheduled for September 7th and will cost $1,500. After the procedure, Taw will no longer be in pain and she will be able to go back home and see her family. She will be able to teach again and garden like before. Taw said, "I really miss my family and my daughter. I hope that I will receive proper treatment and be able to go back home again soon."
Ar is a 28-year-old man who lives with his wife, three sons, and two daughters in a refugee camp. Originally from Burma, his family fled to Thailand 20 years ago due to civil war. His children attend school, except for his youngest daughter, who is not yet old enough. His wife is a homemaker and Ar works as a day laborer when work is available. Ar's family shared that, in addition to his day laborer pay, they receive a monthly cash card from The Border Consortium to purchase food in the refugee camp. Overall, the family's total monthly income is just enough to cover their basic needs. On September 2nd, Ar climbed a tamarind tree to pick tamarinds fruit. When the branch he was standing on suddenly broke, he fell and landed on his right arm and experienced pain in his back. He visited the camp hospital that day, and the medic initially determined that his arm was not broken. Due to recent positive COVID-19 cases in the refugee camp, Ar could not be immediately referred to the local hospital for further testing and was kept for observation at the camp hospital. When the pain in Ar's back and arm did not subside the next day, the medic referred Ar to the local hospital. After receiving a negative COVID-19 test, Ar was finally able to visit the hospital on September 6th, where he received an X-ray for his arm and a blood test for a second COVID-19 test. The X-ray revealed that his upper right arm is broken. With the help of our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF), Ar will undergo surgery on September 8th to reset his fractured bones and ensure proper healing. The procedure will enable Ar to continue working in the future. BCMF is requesting $1,500 to fund this procedure. Ar shared, "I am scared to receive surgery. But I was told that I will not be able to work using my right arm if I do not receive surgery, so I gave my consent to the doctor. I hope that I will be able to work again after I receive treatment."
Thidar is a 43-year-old woman who lives with her husband and two daughters in Burma. She is a homemaker while her two daughters are students. However, the school in their village is closed due to the teachers being on strike following the country's coup earlier this year. Thidar was diagnosed with diabetes 13 years ago, and recently noticed that her toe on her left foot was becoming black. After visiting a local clinic, Thidar was diagnosed with having an ulcer and was prescribed medication as treatment. Unfortunately, the ulcer was not responding to medication and various treatments. Thidar then was advised to visit an hospital where the doctor's further noticed more of her toes were swollen and black as well. Thidar was diagnosed with gangrene, a rare infection where blood flow does not reach your extremities. Our medical partner, the Burma Children Medical Fund is requesting $694 for surgery on Thidar's foot to treat the gangrene. Currently, Thidar is in pain especially at night. She is unable to sleep well and is worried about her foot and her family's financial situation. She told us, "In the future I want to open a shop in my home,” she said. “Thank you so much to all the donors and supporters.”
Myint is a 57-year-old man who lives by himself in a village in Burma. His wife lives in Thailand, but since she lost her work due to COVID-19, she hasn't been able to send back money for basic things like she usually does. They are in a hard postion because she also cannot come back to Burma because she doesn’t feel safe because of civil war that has started. Myint is a day labourer who earns 3,000 kyat (approx. 3 USD) per day. His monthly income of 100,000 kyat (approx. 100 USD) is not enough to cover his daily expenses nor pay for basic health care. Last month, Myint went out fishing and he caught a catfish. While he tried to hang the fish, the catfish fell onto his left instep. The catfish’s fin which is poisonous injured his left instep. He went to small clinic and got treatment. But his wound did not improve and instead he had swelling and it become infected. The village clinic doctor told him if the wound is not improve to go to see the specialist. Since he didn't have money, Myint went to visit a monk to seek the treatment. The monk gave him traditional medicine (an herb) for the wound. However, after using the traditional medicine for one month, his foot continued to worsen. Eventually, his friend recommended that he seek treatment at Mawlamyine Christian Leprosy Hospital (MCLH). At the hospital, the doctor examined his foot and saw that he had developed an ulcer. The doctor said that they would need to perform surgery on his ulcer to clean it properly and remove any damaged or necrotic tissue. When Myint told the doctor he had no money to pay for the surgery, the doctor referred him to our Medical Partner Burma Children Medical Fund for assistance accessing further treatment. Currently, Myint’s left foot is swollen and the skin around his ulcer is discoloured. He cannot sleep well at night due to the pain. He also has difficulty sleeping due to worrying about his foot and his economic situation. He is worried that if his leg has to be amputated, he will not be able to earn money to support his family. He's trying to remain hopeful and told us, “In the future I would like to grow and sell mushrooms so that I can support my family financially.”
Cho is a 50-year-old woman who lives with her husband and their three children in Burma. Cho is a homemaker, and her three children are students. However, their school is currently closed due to the ongoing political and humanitarian crisis in the country. Her husband used to work as a day labourer in Mawlamyine City but stopped working a few months ago because he was afraid of the military arresting him. To support his family, he goes fishing everyday near their village. From selling any surplus fish, he is able to earn about 100,000 kyat (approx. 100 USD) per month. This income is not enough to cover their daily needs or pay for basic health care, but they are working hard to get by. A few months ago, Cho noticed that she had a blister on her left heel. A few days later it burst and became an ulcer. Although she wanted to see a doctor, most of the public clinics and hospitals were closed, and she also could not afford to pay for treatment at them. In early September 2021, she went to a pharmacy nearby to buy medication for her diabetes but they could only provide her with painkillers and cleaning solution for the wound. At home, Cho cleaned the ulcer, but it continued to worsen. One day, her neighbour told her to go to Mawlamyine Christian Leprosy Hospital (MCLH), where she could receive affordable and good services. Cho borrowed money and went to MCLH. She was admitted on September 28th 2021, and the doctor examined her left heel and saw that her heel was swollen and that the ulcer had pus in it. The doctor then scheduled her to undergo surgery on September 30th 2021 to clean the ulcer and remove any necrotic tissue so she can heal. Our care center is requesting $694 to fund of Cho's wound debridement surgery, including her hospital stay and all other medical costs. Currently, Cho is in a lot of pain. When the temperature is cooler, especially at night, the pain worsens. If she does not take pain medication, she cannot sleep at night. Cho said, "When I heard donors may support my surgery, I felt very happy. Even though we have not met you in person, I want to thank you so much for helping me. I just want to live a healthy and happy life with my family.”
San is a 41-year-old woman who lives with her husband, daughter, and son in Burma. Her children are students, but the schools are closed due to a COVID-19 outbreak and teachers' strike against the military coup earlier this year. San and her husband rent land and grow sesame and sunflowers. They shared that their income last year from selling their harvest was about 1,500,000 kyat (approx. $1,500 USD) for the year, which is only enough to cover their daily expenses and basic health care. Unfortunately, the rainy season was late this year, and they could not grow any sesame as a result. San's family is worried about the impact this will have on their income and their family. Starting in May, San felt tired and developed a fever, so she visited the local clinic and received medication for her symptoms. While her fever reduced, she still felt tired, and her heartbeat increased. Three days later, her son developed a fever and also went to the local clinic. While there, San was able to share more about her condition with the clinicians. The doctor listened to her heart, gave her an injection and medication, and told her to come back if she continued to feel unwell. That night, San experienced heart palpitations and could not sit or lie down for long periods. On May 29th, she visited the Magway General Hospital, where she received oxygen, an injection, a blood test, and an electrocardiogram (ECG). Doctors also recommended an echocardiogram and a chest x-ray, which she received in follow-up care on May 31st. After reviewing the results of her tests, the doctors shared that San's heart valve does not work well and suggested meeting with a cardiologist for further testing. While the military coup made it challenging to find a cardiologist, San visited her brother's town for treatment. After further testing, a cardiologist diagnosed San with mitral valve stenosis and told her that she needed surgery to replace a damaged heart valve. Currently, San feels tired and suffers from heart palpitations when she walks short distances and cannot lie down for long periods. Fortunately, San was referred to our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF), to help afford her surgery. On October 3rd, San will receive treatment, and BCMF is requesting $1,500 to help directly fund her procedure. San said, “I would like to get better soon because my family had to try hard to borrow enough money for my treatment. This year, we will not be able to earn a profit from our farm. This year is very difficult for everyone. I would like my daughter and son to finish their studies. I would like to work hard for my family’s future. After I recover from my operation, I want to open a shop in my village to earn more money. I will try to send my daughter and son to school until they graduate. Thank you so much for supporting the cost of my surgery.”
U Ghwe is a 70-year-old man who lives with his wife and granddaughter in Burma. His wife is ill and not able to look after household chores most of the time. His granddaughter is a student in grade 12, but since her school is closed right now, she looks after the household chores. U Ghwe is a weaver and primarily makes bamboo baskets used to carry materials for construction. The family also fishes and raises chickens. Four years ago, U Ghwe had a stroke which left the muscles in his right foot very stiff. Although he can walk, he cannot wear sandals comfortably and instead goes barefoot. About a month ago, while cutting bamboo for weaving, he felt something bite the sole of his right foot. When he got home that evening, his foot was painful, itchy, red and swollen. Unfortunately, he did not have money to seek treatment at a clinic and eventually, the wound developed into an abscess filled with pus. A family member finally recommended that he visit our medical partner's care center for further examination and treatment. After examination, a doctor diagnosed him with an ulcer and told him that he has diabetes. The doctor shared with him that any injury U Ghwe sustains will not heal easily. His doctor has recommended surgery to clean the ulcer and help it to heal. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF), is helping U Ghwe receive the recommended treatment. On October 7th, he will undergo a wound debridement procedure at BCMF's care center to help his wound heal. Now, he needs help raising $694 to fund his procedure and care. U Ghwe shared, "I do not know how long my daughter will not be able to [give] me money. Today, my daughter called me and said that my son-in-law will need to have surgery so she cannot send me money. I am the only one who can earn an income, so if I do not feel better, I will not be able to work. I am interested in working with wood. If was younger, I would learn and become a carpenter but now I feel I am too old."
Naw Day is a 31-year-old pregnant woman who lives with her husband and three-year-old son in a refugee camp in Northern Thailand. Naw Day works as a high school teacher, however since August 2021, schools have been closed in the refugee camp due to an increase in COVID-19 cases. She currently only works one day a week, where she helps clean the school. Naw Day and her husband are expecting their second child. Her doctor has recommended that she give birth through a scheduled Caesarean section to ensure a safe arrival for her baby. Fortunately, our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF) is helping Naw Day to receive labor and delivery care. On October 8th, she will deliver her baby via C-Section. Now, their family needs help raising $1,500 to fund a healthy and safe delivery for her and her baby. Naw Day shared, "Thank you for helping me."
Yee is a 48-year-old woman from Thailand. She lives with her husband, her daughter and a granddaughter in northern Tak Province. Yee's husband works in a rose farm and she is a homemaker as well as a caretaker of her granddaughter at home. Their family income is enough for their daily expenses and they are able to pay for basic healthcare but not for major treatment like Yee now needs. Currently, Yee feels that the right side of her head is achy and she experiences on-and-off pain around her right eye. When Yee feels the pain, she takes a pain medication, but she is worried because she cannot see anything with her right eye. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $1,500 to fund lens replacement surgery for Yee. On October 12th, doctors will perform a lens replacement surgery, during which they will remove Yee's natural lenses and replace them with intraocular lens implants. After recovery, Yee will be able to see clearly. Now, she needs help to fund this $1,500 procedure. “When I recover from surgery, I want to raise chickens and pigs for my family to eat and sell some too. I will also be able to plant vegetables for my family to eat and sell some of those,” said Yee.