Meet Our Patients (16): Kyaw Thu Rah’s Story

Her income is not stable; sometimes she cannot sell any products because no fish and crab/prawn are available at the market. Her husband and brother-in-law are jobless. Her husband helps her sometimes but mostly he drinks and is violent against her. On top of his alcohol problem, he’s been gambling. Her son, Kyaw Thu Rah was born with a congenital abnormal bladder (bladder exstrophy) — his bladder was outside of his abdomen. She has never been to the hospital in Burma/Myanmar with her son due to the high cost of the treatment.

 

Kyaw Thu Rah is a 12-year-old boy who is from Myawaddy Township,[1] Burma/Myanmar. He came to MTC for follow up treatments after getting treatment at Mae Sot General Hospital (MSGH). He lives with his parents, two siblings, two uncles and grandmom (from the dad’s side). Of them, his mom is the only one working and taking care of the whole family. Every day she wakes up early, goes to the market to buy some cheap fish, and crab/prawn. She sells them to the community. After the sales, she goes back home doing house chores and taking care of her children and mother-in-law. Due to her tight schedule, she can have breakfast at around 2 – 3 pm. Her income is not stable; sometimes she cannot sell any products because no fish and crab/prawn are available at the market. Her husband and brother-in-law are jobless. Her husband helps her sometimes but mostly he drinks and is violent against her. On top of his alcohol problem, he’s been gambling. One day he rented a community bike and pawned it for some money. She could not take the reality so asked her nine siblings to help her. Her siblings said she is always welcome to stay with them but without her three children. She could not just abandon her beloved children.

Her son, Kyaw Thu Rah was born with a congenital abnormal bladder (bladder exstrophy) — his bladder was outside of his abdomen. She has never been to the hospital in Burma/Myanmar with her son due to the high cost of the treatment. Her son has been seeing the physicians and doctors in the refugee camp and MTC but they could not help him. Due to its complication, MTC referred him to its partner organization, Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF) to support the case. He went to Chiang Mai hospital and got an operation to insert the bladder in his abdomen through the support by the BCMF. But he was in a bad shape so she took him to MSGH. She has to pay 300 THB[2] for each medical check and 15,000 THB for an X-ray and other medical checks. The result showed the doctor that the stone is in his abnormal bladder. She could not afford more than 4000 THB; yet she needs to pay back 11,000 THB to MSGH. The only thing she could do was to pray for God to give her blessing. MTC referred him to BCMF again and through the BCMF her son was able to get rid of the stone. He comes to MTC to receive antibiotic to treat urinary tract infection disease.

In addition to his symptoms and medical treatment, he cannot study at school or work during the daytime because of his disease — he is not able to control the urine.

Regardless of the harsh condition, she genuinely appreciated MTC and BCMF to help her son. Whenever she visits MTC, she always talks to the health staff openly. The staff pays attention to listen to her and encourages her – the staff learned that it is important to listen to her because she has no one to talk with and listen to her problem at home. “If I have money I would like to donate to MTC,” she said during the interview and she added, “I would be in a big trouble if there were no MTC.”

 

In 2016, a total of 862 referrals were sent to Mae Sot hospital with 458 admissions to the inpatient departments and 404 consultations in the outpatient departments.The referral committee meets on a quarterly basis to discuss and review the cases. We are observing a higher number of patients with complex pathologies self-referred or referred by hospitals inside Burma/Myanmar. It is an increasing burden for our referral systems and for the related costs. We are continuing our long-standing collaboration with Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF). MTC referred a total of 234 patients to BCMF in 2016. These cases were for non-urgent surgery, congenital diseases, urinary tract diseases, advanced diagnostics and gynecological problems.

(This interview was conducted in October 2017)

See more about our referral programme here

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[1] Myawaddy is a town in south eastern Burma/Myanmar, in Karen (Kayin) State, close to the border with Thailand. Separated from the Thai border town of Mae Sot by the Moei River (Thaung Yinn River), the town is the most important trading point between Burma/Myanmar and Thailand. (source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myawaddy)

[2] 1 USD = 33.28 Thai Baht (THB), Oct 30, 1027

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