Meet Our Patients (43): Kyaw Eh Paw’s Story – Newborn Baby

32 years old Mu Eh Lar’s son was delivered at Mae Tao Clinic. She and her husband work together, taking care of a house compound, gardening or cleaning in Thailand. Their salary is intermittent so one of them regularly goes back to Burma whenever they have a chance to work. “Although we have the legal status in Thailand, we never dreamed about going to Thai hospital because of mainly two reasons: language barrier and expectation of high cost we can never afford.”

Kyaw Eh Paw is a 3-day-old newborn baby. He has 4 siblings. His parents are from Karen state,[1] Burma currently live in Mae Ku,[2] in Thailand. They moved to Thailand in search of work 5 years ago. Around 50 – 60 households lived in the village they are originally from. There is no clinic so villagers mainly rely on traditional medicine.

 

His mother, Mu Eh Lar is 32 years old. She and her husband work together, taking care of a house compound, gardening or cleaning. Although their income is lower than Thai minimum salary, around THB 200 (USD 6.3) a day,[3] their employer provides work permit (CI)[4] and accommodation so they don’t need to live in fear of deportation. Nevertheless, their salary is intermittent so one of them regularly goes back to Burma whenever they have a chance to work.

 

Mu Eh Lar and her husband have been using Mae Tao Clinic when they have health problems. Nevertheless, she didn’t plan to attend antenatal care (ANC) due to the transportation cost, but her husband suggested that she should visit the clinic for her and their baby’s health. MTC ANC programme provides a number of essential tests and health supplement. Although they have the legal status in Thailand, they didn’t even dream about going to Thai hospital because of mainly two reasons: language barrier and expectation of high cost they can never afford.

She felt contractions for two days but during and after the delivery there was no complication. Kyaw Eh Paw weights 2.5 kg (5.5 pound). He received vaccinations and the second immunisation is scheduled. After the immunisation, the baby became feverish so he was admitted to Reproductive Health Inpatient Department (RHIPD) for the monitoring. It’s been a week he and his mom stay at the clinic. His fever has decreased and they are waiting for being discharged.

 

“All my children were delivered by traditional birth attendant[5] at home. It was the first time but a good experience that I gave birth at the clinic. Staffs were very nice and reliable. So, I’d like to thank all staff here. I wish my children would be able to live and study in Thailand in the future so that they can speak Thai. When we are discharged, I will go back to my normal life, working and taking care of my children,” said Mu Eh Lar 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.


[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] The district (Amphoe) Mae Sot is subdivided into 10 subdistricts (Tambon), which are further subdivided into 86 villages (muban). Mae Ku is one of the subdistricts. [Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mae_Sot_District]

[3] 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.

[4] The CI (Certificate of Identity) is for migrants who don’t have a Burmese ID card and household registration document at hand. A CI allows migrants to travel freely in order to obtain necessary documents and ultimately apply for a Burmese Passport.

[5] Traditional birth attendant: A traditional birth attendant (TBA), also known as a traditional midwife, community midwife or lay midwife, is a pregnancy and childbirth care provider. Traditional birth attendants provide the majority of primary maternity care in many developing countries, and may function within specific communities in developed countries. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traditional_birth_attendant) Mae Tao Clinic has been providing two levels of training: a 6-month Community Health Worker (CHW) Training, and a 2-year Health Assistant (HA) Training to health workers from numerous health organizations both in Thailand and eastern Burma. In the curriculum of the training, Laboratory Training and Traditional Birth Attendant (TBA) training is included.