Meet Our Patients (10): Chit Tha Mi’s Story

A one-year old girl admitted to Mae Tao Clinic with enlarged lymph nodes; painful and itchy. The baby’s health the last year has been a factor in keeping two older sisters out of school. The mother of patient, however, is committed to putting her older daughters in school as the care at MTC is not just good but also free of charge; she would not have been able to afford to pay. She would like to have more information about migrant schools.

Funding for Mae Tao Clinic remains a great challenge as the political changes have led to a shift in donor funding sources. Yet, there is a great need for funding for the border areas. Although MTC is still heavily reliant on international government funding we have moved towards access funding and collaboration within the region, and with civil society and individuals.

 

Chit Tha Mi with her Mother

The patient’s name is Chit Tha Mi, she is a one-year old girl admitted with enlarged lymph nodes; painful and itchy.  She has been at the clinic for two weeks now awaiting a diagnosis. Unable to provide one, the staff has sent her bloodworm to Mae Sot Hospital and awaits the result. She was also anemic when admitted and was given a blood transfusion.

 

The patient was brought in by her mother – a 31-year old woman, and mother of three. In addition to Chit Tha Mi, she has an 8-year old and an 11-year old daughter. One daughter was there during the interview, and had been there since the baby was admitted, and they were awaiting the arrival of the middle daughter. The older sibling was very caring and attentive to the baby sister. The mother sells food for a living. The father is a day laborer. He is 38 years old. The mother is Mon and the father Burmese. They come from Mon State but have been living in Myawaddy the last five years, having come in search of jobs.  The last few years had been unstable for the family as they have moved around a lot in search of employment. They rent they abode in Myawaddy paying the equivalent of 100 baht a month. Their situation is precarious and sometimes they barely have enough to get through the day. The mother has completed five grades and the father three grades. The two older daughters have been in and out of school due to the cost that the parents cannot meet as well as the nomadic existence. Finally, the baby’s health the last year has also been a factor in keeping the older girls out of school.

 

The mother has been to MTC before, which the youngest child. She has had antenatal care. The baby has had her immunizations. The pregnancies with the older daughters were home births with the help of traditional birth attendants (TBAs). The mother had not been to a clinic or a hospital, there was no antenatal care, nor were the girls immunized.

 

They arrived at the clinic by motor taxi. They had been to the M Hospital in Burma, but the care was subpar. The mother explained that the staff at the hospital discriminates against poor people; those who could pay had much better treatment. She likes MTC; it’s clean, there are clean facilities to wash up, the floors are cleaned on a regular basis, which means the she and her older daughter can share a mat on the floor below the baby’s bed, which was not possible at M hospital, which was dirty. The food is good and sufficient; the medical staff are kind and attentive. She feels safe and looked after. She is grateful that this care is not just good but also free of charge; she would not have been able to afford to pay.

 

The mother is committed to putting her older daughters in school. She would like to have more information about migrant schools.

 

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(This interview was conducted in April 2017)

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