Meet Our Patients (39): Paw Hai Soe’s Story – Emergency Obstetric Care (EmOC)

35-year-old Paw Hai Soe came to Mae Tao Clinic to have a natural birth as when a pregnant woman is old in Burma, the baby is delivered by C-section no matter what the mom’s condition is. She wanted to have a natural birth if possible. Nevertheless, she was referred to Mae Sot General Hospital during the delivery due to complications…


Paw Hai Soe is 35-year-old from Karen state,[1] Burma. She together with her husband owns a small grocery shop in her village, managing the shop. Her husband carries goods with his car. They make money just enough to earn a living. Depend on the circumstance, such as during the rainy season, they make income only that can cover the fuel cost.

She gave birth to her first child 10 days ago at Mae Tao Clinic. She received antenatal care twice in her village during her pregnancy. Although it took a day to arrive at the clinic, she decided to come to the clinic as she knew that if she goes to the hospital in Burma, C-section would be needed.

“When a pregnant woman is old in Burma like me, the baby is delivered by C-section no matter what the mom’s condition is,” said Paw Hai Soe and she added, “I wanted to have a natural birth if possible.”

She arrived at the clinic in the morning on 28 April 2018. It took around a half day from her town. During the delivery, however, she was referred to Mae Sot General Hospital due to complications, umbilical cord prolapses,[2] and the baby was delivered by C-section.

“I saved money in case of the emergency like this. Although I couldn’t have the natural birth, it’s fine as the baby is born healthy.”

After the delivery, she stayed at the clinic to receive some treatment. Yesterday, 8 May 2018, she came back to the clinic as she has high blood pressure. She was admitted to Reproductive Health Inpatient Department for the test. She doesn’t know yet when she will be discharged from the clinic but she made bright smiles whenever she looks down at her newborn baby.

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] 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.

[2] Umbilical cord prolapse occurs when the umbilical cord comes out of the uterus with or before the presenting part of the fetus. It is a relatively rare condition and occurs in fewer than 1% of pregnancies. Due to the possibility for fetal death and other complications, umbilical cord prolapse is considered an obstetric emergency during pregnancy or labor. Current management guidelines focus on quick delivery, which usually entails a cesarean section. [Wikipedia:]