There are 30 to 40 households in Di Poe Wah’s village, where there are no school, clinics, and any community workers. If people feel unwell they first try traditional medicine. His mother stated that before Di Poe Wah came to Mae Tao Clinic (MTC), he was very sick at home and he had edema on his feet. His mother first tried to cure him with traditional medication but his situation did not improve. His mother went to another village which has a clinic but the health workers could not cure him. They suggested his mother to go to a hospital in the city in Burma/Myanmar. However, his mother did not go there because she has never been there before and she only speaks Karen, no Burmese.
Di Poe Wah is 10-month-old and is the first child of his parents. His family lives in Thit Moet Par village in Karen state, Burma/Myanmar. There are 30 to 40 households in his village, there are no school and clinics. They also do not have any community workers either. If people feel unwell they first try traditional medicine. If they do not improve, they go to another village to find treatment. Most of the children are not attending school, only a few children attend school in another village. Most people in his village are working as farmers, they do not have a regular daily income.
His mother stated that before Di Poe Wah came to Mae Tao Clinic (MTC), he was very sick at home and he had edema on his feet. His mother first tried to cure him with traditional medication that they usually use. However, his situation did not improve and his mother went to another village which has a clinic. At that time, the health workers could not cure him. They suggested his mother to go to a hospital in the city in Burma/Myanmar. However, his mother did not go there because she has never been there before and she only speaks Karen, no Burmese. His family chooses to go to a border clinic named Wah Pah. When they arrived to Wah Pah clinic, the staff there told his mother to go directly to MTC to get treatment.
Di Poe Wah’s family did not know MTC, they have never been here before. It took 2 to 3 hours from their home to MTC. When he arrived at MTC, he was admitted in Child In-Patients Department. He is admitted now for more than one month, and his condition has improved notably. His mother now knows her child’s problem was ‘malnutrition’.
The staff at MTC gave his family counseling about daily nutritious food for him and provided health education to his family. He is now ready to go back home. When he grows up, his family will send him to school so he can become a health worker. They appreciate MTC for taking good care of their baby. The family will come again to get treatment if they have a health-related problem. MTC provides free health care services, they said that they have only a little money for transportation and food. They worried about the treatment cost because they stayed for over one month. When his family heard from the staff they did not have to pay for the treatment, they were very glad. Now they can spend their money on food and transportation instead of getting into debt by borrowing money from someone.
(This interview was conducted in October 2017)
We have seen an increased number of children admitted this year for acute severe or moderate malnutrition in the child inpatient department (64 in 2015 to 148 in 2016). This is due mainly to improvement in recording and reporting after implementation of a standardised screening process for any child presenting to Immunisation, Child Inpatient or Outpatient Departments. During their admission, children benefited from a comprehensive programme, including deworming, vitamin supplementation, malaria and tuberculosis screening. Families are given education in nutrition, hygiene, danger signs and safe feeding. After discharge, regular follow-up is offered with food provided. Our data showed that half of the patients are unable to return due to transportation, security and economic reasons.
 There are approximately a hundred languages spoken in Burma/Myanmar. Burmese, spoken by two-thirds of the population, is the official language. Karen languages are the thirdly spoken language in Burma/Myanmar (around 2.7 million). (source: Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Languages_of_Myanmar)