“Even though I felt contractions, I could not go to a government hospital in my city as I do not speak Burmese. I had to wait until the morning when we could cross the border (so that I can go to Mae Tao Clinic to deliver),” said Paw Lar Yuu who delivered her first child at Mae Tao Clinic 2 days ago. She had to go through hardships during her pregnancy…
Saw Hay Nay Thar Htoo is a 2-day-old baby. He is the first child of his parents, who are from a small village in Myawaddy, Burma. There are around 300 households living in the village, which also has two small clinics and two schools. The majority of the youth moves to Mae Sot to enroll in migrant learning centers after primary school as there is no further education in the village. The village is controlled by both the government and an ethnic authority, the Karen National Union. Most villagers are subsistence farmers, just like Saw Hay Nay Thar Htoo’s parents. The parents grow fruits and vegetables and raise cattle to sell. Their farm is only small scale and their income is unstable.
Saw Hay Nay Thar Htoo’s mother, Paw Lar Yuu, has been attending Mae Tao Clinic whenever she has health issues. She started attending monthly antenatal care since her 4th month of pregnancy. One night, her contractions started but she had to wait for the next morning to cross the border.
“Even though I felt contractions, I could not go to a government hospital in my city as I do not speak Burmese.  I had to wait until the morning when we could cross the border.”
It took around 3 hours to go through the entry procedures to cross the border and pick up a taxi. She and her husband had to spend THB 300 (USD 9.1) for transportation.
Saw Hay Nay Thar Htoo was born right after Paw Lar Yuu arrived at Mae Tao Clinic. He was born without any complications; the birth weight was 3 kg (6.6 lbs). While he and his mother stayed at the RH-IPD, he received immunization and his birth was registered. RHIPD staff provided health education to Paw Lar Yuu in monitoring of newborn, nutrition, hygiene and child development and well-being; and provided a follow-up date for the second round of childhood immunizations.
“I am really glad I came to the clinic for delivery. All staff are very kind and have taken good care of us. Me and my husband made a plan to have 3 or 4 children. We do not know yet how things will be like in the future but I hope Saw Hay Nay Thar Htoo will be able to study in Burma.”
Meet Other Patients Here
In recent years, the proportion of complex cases in need of higher level care has increased, while the number of women attending our reproductive health clinic for normal delivery has decreased, which is likely due to improvements in services along the border. Our reproductive health team provides care to women through multiple services:
Antenatal care: Women are encouraged to come for at least four antenatal visits over the course of their pregnancy. Pregnant women are assessed following our protocol, which is regularly reviewed. Over half of women who were admitted at MTC for delivery came the recommended 4 times for ANC.
Family planning: We offer emergency, short, and long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) family planning options. Most women prefer contraceptive injections and need to attend the clinic every 3 months. The reproductive health team is trying to advocate for more LARC contraception methods such as implants or intrauterine devices (IUDs). Over the past 3 years, approximately 10% of women visiting for family planning received LARC.
Delivery: We aim to ensure specific training for our midwives, improved clinical supervision and improved infection control in the delivery room. We regularly review the patients we refer and monitor our referral outcomes. Of 2,327 admissions, 179 women (7.7%) were referred to Mae Sot General Hospital for advanced emergency obstetric care.
Neonatal care: We continue to face challenges in the management of premature babies and low birth weight babies, due to our limited resources. However, through improved staff training and parent education on monitoring of new-borns, we can achieve better outcomes.
 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: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myawaddy
 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. Mae Tao Clinic is located in Mae Sot [Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mae_Sot]
 The Karen National Union (KNU) is a political organisation with an armed wing, the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA), that claims to represent the Karen people of Myanmar (Burma). It operates in mountainous eastern Myanmar, and has underground networks in other areas of Myanmar where Karen people live as a minority group. [Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karen_National_Union]
 Burma is a multiethnic, multilingual, and multicultural society. Officially, the country encompasses eight main ethnic groups, which the government has further divided into 135 different indigenous ethnic groups. According to CIA Factbook, the majority group Burman make up 68% of the country’s population of 55 million. The Burman group is the largest and culturally dominant group in Burma. [Burmalink: https://www.burmalink.org/background/burma/ethnic-groups/overview/]