Meet Our Patients (23): Chit Maung Maung’s Story – Malnutrition Case

We are daily workers, doing anything if we get paid. Since a few weeks ago, my children have been having diarrhoea. We didn’t know where to go or what to do. So we decided to use the traditional method to alleviate the diarrhoea — having my children to have curry powder but it did not work. We wanted to visit the hospital but we couldn’t because we have both no legal documents to stay in Thailand, which means we are always afraid of the possible deportation, and no enough money to get my children treatment. While we were worried and anxious for our children’s symptom, one of my friends told me to visit Mae Tao Clinic since all treatments are free there.

 

A mom and twins sleep peacefully in the malnutrition care room at the Child-In Patient Department, MTC

My name is Chit Maung Maung, a father of two children. My children are twins and became 1 year and 9 months. I am originally from Bago division, [1] Burma/Myanmar. I moved to Phop Phra, [2] Thailand 6 years ago with my wife to seek job opportunities because it was hard to find one in my village. But even in Phop Phra, we found it hard to have stable jobs so we moved to Mae Pa[3] a few months ago. We are daily workers, doing anything if we get paid. Since my children were born, I am the only one who works. My daily salary varies from THB 150 to 200 (USD 4,7 – 6,2).

When we were living in Phop Phra, there was one Thai Clinic near where we went when my children were sick. Although the price was expensive for us — the cost was around THB 250 each visit (over one day salary), we had no choice to go somewhere else. Nevertheless, due to the language barrier, we could not receive certain counselling and treatment. Since a few weeks ago, my children have been having diarrhoea. We had neither information on the new village we settled down nor didn’t we know where to go or what to do. We decided to use the traditional method to alleviate the diarrhoea — having my children to have curry powder. But it did not work. We wanted to visit the hospital but we couldn’t because we have both no legal documents to stay in Thailand, which means we are always afraid of the possible deportation, and no enough money to get my children treatment. While we were worried and anxious for our children’s symptom, one of my friends told me to visit Mae Tao Clinic since all treatments are free there. We left the town without a second thought in order to visit the MTC.

My children were examined by health staff at MTC, and they were admitted to the malnutrition care room, Child In-Patient Department. It has been already 3 weeks and now my children look much healthier, which makes me so happy.

They are our first child and we have no other family members or relatives around. We did not know about nutrition and how to feed them in their age. While we were staying at MTC, health staff taught us how to feed the child, about nutrition, disease prevention and so on. We are very grateful not only because our children received free treatment and became healthier but also now we can prevent our children from being sick in advance based on what we learned here at MTC.

I don’t know how many but I think there are many migrant workers like me in Thailand, who have no legal documents or health insurance. People like me always find language barriers. So, I am very happy to have MTC in this region. We don’t need to worry about the money or communicative hardship. I wish the MTC could last long, supporting this community because we need this service.

One day, I would go back to Burma/Myanmar with my children when they grow up. Until then, I will stay here, working very hard for my family.

Read another malnutrition case here: http://maetaoclinic.org/meet-our-patients-21-khin-thi-moes-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). 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] Bago Region is an administrative region of Myanmar, located in the southern central part of the country. [Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bago_Region]

[2]Phop Phra is a district in the southwestern part of Tak Province, western Thailand. [Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phop_Phra_District]

[3] The district Mae Sot, Tak Province, where shares the border between Burma/Myanmar, is subdivided into 10 sub-districts. Mae Pa is one of those sub-districts. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mae_Sot_District]