Meet Our Patients (45): Aye Aye Htwee’s Story – Pneumonia

6-month-old Aye Aye Htwee became feverish, started coughing and had a runny nose 3 days ago. Her mom gave her paracetamol and some traditional medications, but her condition got exacerbated. After 3 days of treatment at home, her parents decided to visit Mae Tao Clinic and she is diagnosed with pneumonia.

 

Aye Aye Htwee is 6-month-old, the youngest child of her parents. She has 5 siblings; of them, two older siblings are already married.  Her family came to Thailand 5 years ago for the better life. Her parents used to be engaged in trade business, between their town in Pha An, Karen State[1] and Yangon[2].

Her dad currently works in the construction industry and her mom works for a factory. They make around THB 170 per day (USD 5)[3]. Although they don’t need to pay for the rent as the factory provides them with accommodation, they still need to pay for bills. Her parents used to have a work permit but no longer have them.[4]

During Aye Aye Htwee’s mom’s, Phyu Win, pregnancy, she attended antenatal visits at Mae Tao Clinic. She delivered a healthy daughter at the clinic. Aye Aye Htwee has received immunisation following the schedules given by the health staff at the clinic.

3 days ago, Aye Aye Htwee became feverish, started coughing and had a runny nose. Her mom gave her paracetamol and some traditional medications, but her condition got exacerbated. After 3 days of treatment at home, her parents decided to visit Mae Tao Clinic. Although the transportation was almost a similar amount of their daily salary, THB 150 (USD 4.5), they didn’t mind.

After they arrived at the clinic, Child Outpatient Department staff examined Aye Aye Htwee and she is diagnosed with pneumonia. To follow the guideline, the health worker did a malaria test as well but it was negative. While Aye Aye Htwee was receiving treatment, her parents were provided with health education in hygiene, nutrition, and disease prevention.

“We are really relieved and appreciate that health staff identified why our daughter is sick and provided her with treatment. We are not sure until when we will stay in Thailand due to the legal status. We will leave this country sooner or later probably but until then, whenever we have health issues, we will definitely visit the clinic.”


The department focuses on curative care, growth monitoring, nutrition assessment and malnutrition, and is committed to treating the common illnesses it sees, such as dengue fever, anaemia (hematologic disorders), diarrhoea and acute respiratory infections.

Health education is one of the department’s main priorities, so that when patients leave they will be better informed on health and child development issues. For example, the staff will tell the parents what food is best for a malnourished child, or for a breastfeeding mother. When a child is immunised, they will tell patients about alternative places for immunised if they cannot follow up at MTC. Ideally, patients will take this information back with them to their communities.

 

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[1] Hpa-An is the capital of Karen State, Burma/Myanmar. The population of Hpa-An as of the 2014 census is 421,575. Most of the people in Hpa-An are of the Karen ethnic group [Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hpa-An]

[2] Yangon served as the capital of Burma/Myanmar until 2006, when the military government relocated the capital to the purpose-built city of Naypyidaw in central Myanmar. With over 7 million people, Yangon is Myanmar’s largest city and its most important commercial centre. [Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yangon]

[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 a work permit.

[4] It is known that there are around 2 to 3 millions of Burmese migrants workers in Thailand [Reuters: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-thailand-migrants/thailands-new-labor-rules-send-thousands-of-migrant-workers-fleeing-idUSKBN19O0B6, IOM]