Meet Our Patients (21): Khin Thi Moe’s Story

According to the United Nations children’s agency,  as many as 150 children under five are dying each day in Myanmar, while 30 – 35 percent suffer from moderate or severe malnutrition. (UNICEF, WTF)
We have seen an increased number of children admitted in 2016 for acute severe or moderate malnutrition in the child inpatient department (64 in 2105 to 148 in 2016). During their admission, children benefited from a comprehensive program, including deworming, vitamin supplementation, malaria and tuberculosis screening. Families are given education in nutrition, hygiene, danger signs and safe feeding.

 

Before / After the malnutrition treatment. Khin Thi Moe was happy to see us, giving us the most beautiful smile. She is wearing Burmese traditional face painting: Thanaka

Khin Thi Moe is an 8-month-old girl who weighs only 5.9 Kg (the typical 8-month-old baby weights 8-10 kg: 17.5 – 22 pounds[1]). She was born in Myawaddy[2], Burma/Myanmar. She is the youngest among 4 siblings. Her older sisters are living in Shan state[3], Burma/Myanmar with grandparents to attend school. Her family lived in Shan state as well but moved to Myawaddy to look for employment. Unfortunately, Khin Thi Moe’s parents are divorced and currently, her mom is solely responsible for the family income. Her mom works as daily worker and seller, making around 4,000- 5,000 Kyat (US$ 3 – 3.80) per day. Her family rents an apartment, paying for 60,000 Kyat (US$ 50) monthly.

When she first became sick with fever and a running nose, her mom took her to two clinics in Myawaddy. However, her condition was not getting better. Her mom already spent 20,000 Kyat (almost her four-day salary). In addition to the cost, her mom did not know what disease her daughter has and how to care for her in order to improve the condition because the clinical staff did not provide her with any information regarding her child’s health condition. Her mom eventually planned to come to Mae Tao Clinic. As a matter of fact, she did not visit the MTC at first because she thought she could visit clinics in Myawaddy. Moreover, she was afraid to get arrested by the Thai police as she does not have legal documents to travel to Thailand.

After 10 days of the interview, we visited the Child IPD again to check her condition. Now she can sit and stand up alone. Her mom was very happy to see that her daughter gets better and smiles more.

She arranged the transport from Myawaddy, crossed the border and arrived at MTC to seek treatment for her daughter. The health staff at MTC admitted her daughter to Child In-Patient Department. She has to stay for two weeks of intensive malnutrition treatment. Her mom suspected that her child might have been malnourished but could not improve the circumstance due to lack of knowledge of nutrition.

MTC staff taught her how to care for her children and how and what to feed children at young age. Moreover, the staff provides her with health education on nutrition, hygiene and childhood diseases. She now knows how to recognize signs of disease and malnutrition. When her child gets better, she will go back to Myawaddy to continue her job. Finally, she was very happy with MTC for the treatment and care. She thanks MTC for looking after her baby well and also for empowering her to care for her baby at home or anywhere she might go.


According to the United Nations children’s agency,  as many as 150 children under five are dying each day in Myanmar, while 30 – 35 percent suffer from moderate or severe malnutrition. (UNICEF, WTF)

We have seen an increased number of children admitted in 2016 for acute severe or moderate malnutrition in the child inpatient department (64 in 2105 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 program, including deworming, vitamin supplementation, malaria and tuberculosis screening. Families are given education in nutrition, hygiene, danger signs and safe feeding. We have observed a large number of children with malnutrition as a secondary complication of underlying conditions such as cerebral palsy, tuberculosis, HIV, congenital diseases and chronic gastrointestinal problems.


[1] Physical appearance and growth: 8 – 12 months, https://www.healthychildren.org/

[2] Myawaddy is a town in southeastern Myanmar, in Kayin (Karen) State, close to the border with Thailand. Separated from the Thai border town of Mae Sot by the Moei River (Thaung Yinn River), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myawaddy

[3] Shan State is a state of Myanmar. Shan State borders China to the north, Laos to the east, and Thailand to the south, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shan_State

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