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.”