This is Hein, a two-year old toddler from Burma. Hein has recently learned to speak, and his favorite word is “mother”, though he also knows how to say the names of all his family members.
Since birth, Hein has dealt with several medical conditions. Last year he underwent surgery for a congenital heart condition, and he currently has limited vision due to a congenital glaucoma.
“Hein can see light, but very little beyond that,” explains our medical partner, Burma Border Projects (BBP).
Hein’s condition is the result of an improperly developed optic drainage system, which leads to increased pressure and ultimately nerve damage in the eye. “When he was born, his parents noticed that his eyes were covered by white film,” adds BBP. “During his first six months of life, Hein’s parents tried to heal his eyes with a traditional healer, but this proved unsuccessful. Hein’s parents then took him to an eye specialist, who referred him to a major hospital to undergo surgery. However, when he was being prepared for surgery, doctors discovered he had a heart murmur and refused to operate.”
After receiving heart surgery last year, Hein is now healthy enough for eye surgery. For $1,500, Hein will receive a bilateral lens replacement, which will allow him to see for the first time in his life, and allow him to develop properly through childhood. This cost accounts for everything that Hein will need for his full surgery and recovery, including 30 days of hospitalized care, food, transportation and three days of post-operation follow-up care.
“Hein is a resilient boy - while waiting for surgery he has overcome a tuberculosis infection and has been in and out of health facilities since the day he was born,” BBP says.
Hein’s family is optimistic about his future. His mother “hopes for him to be educated and go to school like his sisters,” BBP adds.