Meet Our Patients (18): Naw Htee Khu ‘s Story

Naw Htee Khu’s family has been living in the IDP camp since 2008 after they fled their hometown due to armed conflict between the Burma Army and ethnic armed group. In the camp, she has been suffering from hypertension almost 2 years. One day, she felt a terrible pain in her stomach and back, had the fever and caughed with blood. It turned out that she had kidney failure.

 

Naw Htee Khu is 32-year old and lives in Ei Tu Hta IDP (Internally Displaced Persons) camp[1]. She has three children and two of them attend the school inside the camp. Her family has been living in the camp since 2008. They lived in Taw Thun Dul village in Karen state, Burma/Myanmar, where was one of the ethnic armed group and government conflict areas. They found it hard to locate a safe place and had to move around the area often due to continuous conflicts. Eventually, they decided to flee their hometown, trying to find a way to go to the IDP camp for safety.

While staying in the camp, her family does not have any special jobs but rarely has daily jobs, which they can make no more than 120 THB[2] per day. They have no regular income and rely on monthly food rations, mainly dry food, from one of the United Nations Humanitarian Organizations. Nevertheless, her family desperately needs jobs to support her children as well as themselves.

She has been suffering from hypertension almost 2 years so has been receiving treatment at a clinic in the camp. One day, she felt a terrible pain in her stomach and back, had the fever and coughed with blood. She visited the clinic but the health staff could do nothing because the case was too complex and the clinic cannot treat serious cases. Thus, the staff contacted one of the members of the Back Pack Health Worker Team (BPHWT) who provides health care service in Karen state and the BPHWT refers her to Mae Tao Clinic. Although it took 9 hours to arrive at MTC (4 hours and 5 hours by boat and car respectively), they were desperate to seek the treatment.

After her arrival, she has gone through an examination and took tuberculosis (TB) test. She was TB negative, but the staff diagnosed her as renal failure (kidney failure) after the renal function test. Nevertheless, as it is excessively costly to treat, MTC cannot treat the case and is not able to refer her to Mae Sot General hospital for the advanced treatment. Under this complex situation, MTC staff had been trying to find out the best solution for her in cooperation with partner organizations. Eventually, by the aid of BPHWT and the clinic in the camp, she was referred to the Thai National hospital, Mae Sot General Hospital, that provides advanced medical treatment. Yet, it is not clear how far she needs further treatment and how much it would cost.

Regardless of her condition, however, during the interview, she showed her concerns about her children back in the camp because she and her husband didn’t expect she would be admitted and stayed at the clinic and the hospital for a long period. When they left the camp, they asked their neighbour to look after their children.


While our numbers of consultations and admissions were slightly down compared to previous years, the bed occupancy rate increased as did the length of stay of our patients. Our data shows us that we are seeing more complicated cases coming to our clinic as these patients are not able to be treated in Burma/Myanmar. In 2016, among 111,488 consultations, 862 patients were referred to Mae Sot hospital.


[1] Ei Tu Hta is a camp for Karen people displaced by Burma Army attacks in 2006. The camp is threatened by funding cut and IDPs are afraid to return their hometown as their houses and farmlands are destroyed due to the conflict (source – Karen News: http://karennews.org/photo/life-in-ei-tu-hta-idp-camp/, TBI: http://www.theborderconsortium.org/news/end-of-funding-will-force-ei-tu-hta-camp-to-close/)

[2] USD 1 = THB

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