Meet Our Patients (34): Shine Tha Htoo’s Story – Newborn baby

“The current place I and my husband live has a great number of migrant workers in need of health care and protection. These include children and pregnant women living in mountainous and jungle areas. They, in general, have transportation and ID issues to access to health services in spite of their serious illnesses or need for assisted delivery. I have seen some women and newborn babies not able to survive the birth as some women deliver babies in the jungle without any help.”

 

Shine Tha Htoo is a 4-day-old newborn baby. His family (his parents and 4 siblings) currently lives in Phop Phra, Thailand.[1] It’s been 2 years Shine Tha Htoo’s parents moved to Phop Phra in search of work from Umpiem camp.[2] When Shine Tha Htoo’s mom, Naw Lu Lu Paw was 13-year-old she moved to the refugee camp from Karen state,[3] Burma/Myanmar due to armed conflict between the Burma Army and ethnic armed group and lack of education and health services. The parents left their children with their grandparents in the camp for education. Shine Tha Htoo’s dad is a pastor and his mom works as a daily laborer. His parents make about THB 5,000 (USD 160) per month.

During the pregnancy of Shine Tha Htoo, Naw Lu Lu Paw received Antenatal Care (ANC) at a clinic inside the Umpiem camp, and received necessary medication for 5 months. Due to the distance to their current residence, she could not continue attending the ANC program. Instead, she started receiving ANC at Mae Tao Clinic. The distance between her place and MTC is quite far and costly (THB 500 for the round trip: USD 16) but she wanted to give birth in a clean and safe place. There was no complication during or after the delivery. Shine Tha Htoo only has some fever, but not to a major concern of the medics. Shine Than Htoo has been in the Reproductive Health In-Patient Department (RHIPD) for 3 days, waiting for the fever to drop so that he can receive his first round of immunization.

Naw Lu Lu Paw expressed her gratitude to the MTC health staff for the good care. Especially, she thanked people who support the MTC to be able to provide health care services to the community.

“Mae Tao Clinic stands for the poor and migrants in need of health care and education. I wish to see MTC stay longer for people who need the service”. She added “I’d like to share one important message with people outside. The current place I and my husband live has a great number of migrant workers in need of health care and protection. These include children and pregnant women living in mountainous and jungle areas. They, in general, have transportation and ID issues to access to health services in spite of their serious illnesses or need for assisted delivery. I have seen some women and newborn babies not able to survive the birth as some women deliver babies in the jungle without any help. With respect to the medication, although some are able to purchase the medicine most of the time they don’t know how to take them due to a lack of explanation when buying them.”

“When I heard the funding situation that MTC has been facing, it broke my heart. Although I cannot donate anything right now, I will pray for the clinic to be able to provide the service to the poor like me,” said newborn baby Shine Tha Htoo’s mom during the interview.


Over the years, we have seen a decrease in the number of women attending reproductive health clinic, mostly due to the improvement of the services along the border. This is also a part of the MTC Health System Strengthening strategies. The decrease in the number of women seen is only for normal deliveries but more complex cases in need of a higher level of care are still seen in Mae Tao clinic. While all numbers conducted at the reproductive health department decreased, a number of women referred for delivery to an advanced-level hospital is slightly increased compared to a previous year (177 to 179). Mae Tao clinic reproductive health team continues to provide care to women through multiple services.

 

Consultations 16,375
Antenatal 10,188
Family Planning 3,836
Postnatal 3,300
Admissions 4,159
Deliveries 2,148
Neonatal 536
Post Abortion Care 315

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

[2] Umpiem camp has a population of more than 10,600 people. The camp was formed in late 1999 when two former refugee sites were relocated to near a Hmong village called Umpiem in Phop Phra district of Tak Province.  [The Border Consortium: http://www.theborderconsortium.org/where-we-work/camps-in-thailand/umpiem-mai/]

[3] Karen State is a state of Myanmar. It is bordered by Thailand to the east. Majority of refugees and migrants along the Thai-Burma border are from Karen State.

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