Zaw is a 30-year-old man from Burma. He lives with his wife and son at his parent in-law’s home. Though they live together, household income and expenses are not intermingled as his in-laws have their own children to care for. His wife stays at home to take care of their son while he works as a agriculture day laborer.
In 2014, Zaw became aware of the symptoms caused by his condition. Whenever he tried to do heavy lifting he would experience laboured breathing. He became especially alarmed when he began walking from sleep due to his difficulty breathing. Besides feeling weak and tiring easily, his legs would sometimes tremble.
On January 10, 2015 Zaw and his wife went to the National Heart & Lung Centre in Rangoon, which performed a cardiogram and referred him to Asia Royal Hospital for further testing. The doctor gave Zaw an appointment date to go back but because he ran out of money, he had to travel back home to borrow more money. Returning on time for their appointment, Asia Royal Hospital conducted a CT carotid angiogram. Zaw was told that treatment for his condition could cost 5,000,000 kyat (approx. 5,000 USD), Zaw and his wife returned home.
Back in their village, concerned neighbors recommended Zaw travel to Mae Tao Clinic (MTC), a Watsi partner. Departing from Mon State and accompanied by his wife and two aunts, they made a costly journey to Thailand. Upon arrival at MTC in July 2016, staff conducted an echocardiogram and diagnosed Zaw with a heart condition called Mitral valve regurgitation. He requires surgery to correct the condition and get healthy again.
When Zaw isn’t working, he looks forward to spending time with his son. Because work is hard, he rests during his time off and occasionally the family will go on outings to visit relatives.
“I look forward to returning to the days when I can work and provide for my family as I once did in the past,” Zaw shared.