Meet Our Patients (38): Aye Chan Aung’s Story – Newborn baby

2-day-old Aye Chan Aung’s parents decided to move to Thailand 4 years ago in search of work. Aye Chan Aung’s mom did not go to any clinic to receive antenatal care (ANC) during her pregnancy as she was worried that she would get arrested by police due to the ID issue. Although Aye Chan Aung was a low birth weight when he was born, he gets healthier day by day.

Aye Chan Aung is a 2-day-old baby. He is the first child of his parents, who are from Myawaddy,[1] Burma. The family decided to move to Bangkok, Thailand 4 years ago in search of work. They have no work permit nor any residence permit. They worked at a factory and earned THB 250 (USD 8)[2] per day.

Aye Chan Aung’s mom did not go to any clinic to receive antenatal care (ANC) during her pregnancy as she was worried that she would get arrested by police due to the ID issue. Instead, she was staying at home, asking people for advice on how to take care during the pregnancy. When it was her 7-month pregnancy, her husband contacted his mother in law who lives in Mae Sot.[3] Her mom suggested that they come over to Mae Sot for the safe delivery and she can look after her daughter after giving birth. Although Aye Chan Aung’s parents had to pay THB 6,000 (USD 192) for the transportation expense and security fees, which is almost equivalent to a monthly salary, they decided to come to Mae Sot.

The first time that Aye Chan Aung’s mom visited Mae Tao Clinic was when she had abdominal pain which she thought was contractions. She was admitted to Reproductive Health Inpatient Department (RHIPD) for 4 days and her pain was mitigated, so she was discharged with medical advice. 4 days later, she came back to the clinic again when her labor pains started. She gave birth a few hours later. Although Aye Chan Aung weighted only 2.4 kg (5.29 lbs) which is a low birth weight,[4] there were no complications. After the delivery, Aye Chan Aung’s mom was feverish so the RHIPD health staff admitted her for a check-up. Due to the baby’s low weight and his mom’s weakened health condition, they were recommended to stay in the RHIPD. Aye Chan Aung gets healthier day by day. He received the first immunization: BCG and Hepatitis B Vaccine, at MTC.

During the interview, the parents said “although Aye Chan Aung grows up, we don’t think we will go back to Burma but will continue working in Thailand. We will send him to migrant school or Thai school depending on the situation. We won’t go back to Bangkok as it is too hard to live there without the legal work permit. Instead, we will stay here, Mae Sot, looking for a job.”

The parents of Aye Chan Aung looked genuinely happy while they look down at their newborn son. They thanked MTC for the service and donors for MTC to be able to provide free and essential service to migrant workers from Burma.

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. 10,705 children under five were treated at Mae Tao Clinic in 2016. This is 20% of the total client load. 19,319 were women of reproductive age which is 35 % of the total client load (54,521).

[1] 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). [Wikipedia:]

[2] Although THB 310 – 330 (USD 9.9 – 10.5) is the minimum daily wage in Thailand, many migrant workers receive lower income as many of them work without work permit.

[3] Mae Sot is a city in western Thailand that shares a border with Burma to the west. It is notable as a trade hub and for its substantial population of Burmese migrants and refugees. [Wikipedia:]

[4] The normal weight of a baby who reaches full term between 37 and 40 weeks is 2.7–4.1kg (6 – 9 lbs), with an average weight of 3.5kg (7.7 lbs). A baby who weighs less than 2.5kg (5.5 lbs) is considered to have a low birth weight. [WebMD:]