Aye Myint is a 20-year old man from a refugee camp in Thailand. He lives with his parents and a younger sister. His father had to stop working because Aye Myint’s mother is often unwell and he looks after her and Aye Myint. The camp authorities also restrict refugees from working outside the camp, and there have been reductions in the rations supplied, so it is more difficult for the family to afford daily expenses especially with sick people in the house.
When he was 12 years old Aye Myint began experiencing fast breathing and he often felt tired. He felt strong heart palpitations when he played with his friends. His father took him to the clinic in the camp and was told that he had a heart condition. The medic in the camp prescribed him some medication and told him to return a month later. He returned to the clinic with the same symptoms and the medic told him that they could not treat his heart problem, but that the clinic could prescribe medicine to prevent his condition from getting worse. He was told to return to the clinic once a month for medication.
According to Aye Myint, the medicine did not improve his symptoms and he felt like his condition was deteriorating year after year. He stopped attending school three years ago because he was admitted to the clinic so many times due to fever, chest pain, difficulty breathing and heart palpitations. Aye Myint did not seek treatment from anywhere else because the family did not know where to access treatment outside of the camp. They also did not know who to ask for help and they just depended on the camp clinic.
In June, 2016, Aye Myint had a high fever and was admitted to the clinic for almost a month. Then, in early July he felt dizzy, could not breathe well and fainted. The America Refugee Committee (ARC) who currently looks after the clinic in the camp referred him to Mae Sot Hospital (MSH) as an emergency patient and he was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for two days. The doctor performed an X-ray and echocardiogram during his hospitalization. He was at MSH for 15 days and upon discharge the doctor told him he needed heart surgery, as soon as possible. The ARC then referred Aye Myint to Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF), a Watsi partner.
Currently, Aye Myint experiences chest pain, difficulty breathing, and heart palpitations. He cannot walk long distances and feels more tired when he is active. Whenever he has difficulty breathing, he cannot sleep or eat well.
“As a father I feel pity and am sorry for my boy but I just didn’t know how to help him,” Aye Myint’s father shared. “I just want to see my son in good health; I don’t want him to suffer anymore. He is my only son and it is heartbreaking to see him in this condition.”