Meet Our Patients (19): Saw Nay Htoo’s Story

Saw Nay Htoo was working in Bangkok to support his family before he got hit by a car and started feeling to get paralized in both legs more and more. He had to stop working and visit a number of clinics both in Thailand and Burma/Myanmar but couldn’t find the cause of the symptom. Eventually, on his mom’s suggestion, they decided to come and get tested at MTC.


Saw Nay Htoo is 32-year-old and has 2 children. His children attend monastery school, which is not official, in their village — villagers found a teacher from the village who experienced in teaching and the monks organized classes up to grade 9. After the village school, students have to find a way to continue their education. Some cross the Thailand-Burma border to continue studying and others attend school in Hpa-An, Karen state, Burma/Myanmar.

In their village, they do not have armed conflicts between Burma Army and ethnic armed groups but do have a problem with people that sell fabricated medication. Normally, common disease as malaria, diarrhoea and some tropical diseases can be seen in the village. There is no basic health clinic under the government control area but they have only immunization program provided by the government.

His family does farming and occasionally works as a daily labourer to make a living. Nevertheless, income is not enough to meet needs of his family. Eventually, he decided to move to Bangkok, Thailand for seeking a better job. Over 5 years, he had worked at a repair shop in Bangkok. One day, unfortunately, he got hit by a car. Since then he’s gotten severe pains in his back. He took an x-ray and the doctor said nothing was wrong with his body structure. Although he felt some pains he continued to work afterwards.

A year after the accident, suddenly, he started feeling like losing his strength in his body and his movement kept slowing down day by day. His friend thought something was not normal. So, his friend helped him to visit one of the Thai clinics for a couple of days but his condition showed no improvement. He could not work anymore as his symptom was getting worse and needed a help, so went back to his hometown where his family lives. In his village, he saw a doctor but the doctor could not identify the cause of the symptom. His mom came up with the idea to visit Mae Tao Clinic, as she has known and been treated at MTC for 10 years.

They arrived at MTC after 5 hours of long journey, and he was admitted to the In-Patient Department. During 2 weeks of stay, he has more energy in the morning time, but around the noon he becomes weak. Even though he is very hungry, he cannot eat and drink well and his muscle does not function properly to swallow the food. He also receives physiotherapy every day to improve his movement to be able to walk. MTC medic tested him and yet the diagnosis has not been made. The medic suspected that it could be B1 deficiency or Neurological problem.

During the interview, his mom appreciated what MTC has offered to her son and said she was impressed to see how MTC staff takes care of her son and give them counselling. “I am very grateful that MTC provides free services for food, treatment and medication. Even though we have no money we have a chance to get treatment here,” said his mom.

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. There are more basic primary health care facilities opening up in Eastern Burma and MTC is part of the Health Systems Strengthening project to support these clinics. 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.