Three weeks ago, Ko was foraging for bamboo roots in the jungle when a bamboo twig sprang back and hit him in his left eye. His left eye started to hurt right away, and he stopped foraging. When he went back home, he did not apply any medication because he thought his eye would get better on its own. The next day however, he could not open his left eye and had a sharp pain in his injured eye as well as a headache. When he asked his wife to check his eye, she told him that it was red and that he had a white dot on his pupil. He then went to Chaung Son Clinic, a free clinic. he health worker at the clinic gave him an antibacterial ointment to apply inside his eye every day and seek further treatment at Mae Tao Clinic (MTC) in Mae Sot, Thailand right away.
The next day, Ko went to MTC. At the clinic, he received an eye examination, one weeks’ worth of ointment and a bottle of eye drops to apply twice a day. He was asked to come back a week later. When he went back on the 14th of October. After he received another eye examination, the doctor told him that he wanted to admit him at the hospital right away. His left eye was infected, and he needed antibiotics. If the treatment would not work, the doctor told him that they would probably have to remove his eyeball. Unable to pay for his own admission, MTC referred him to Burma Children Medical Fund for assistance in accessing further treatment.
Currently, Ko’s left eye is teary, he has a severe headache and sharp pain in his left eye. Because the antibiotics did not work, he now has to remove his left eye. His injury has also impacted his family, as he is currently unable to work. Unable to leave his children with any money for food while he receives treatment, his children now have to work on a farm as daily labourers for 2,400 kyat (approx. 2 USD) each per day, to pay for their own meals. Luckily, they have not missed any school, as schools are closed until November for the holidays.
“I worry about my eye and I worry for my children too. We left [our children] with our neighbor and they told us not to worry about my children getting food because they will look after them [when they go back to school]. I feel really grateful for my neighbors, BCMF and [BCMF’s] donors for supporting my treatment and everything they have done for me,” said Ko.