Meet Our Patients (50): Ma Htoo’s Story — Newborn baby

31 years old, a mom of a newborn baby Ma Htoo is a daily worker, making around THB 100 – 150 (USD 3 – 4.5) per day. Her family, including herself, has no legal status such as residence permit or work permit in Thailand. Nevertheless, she hopes to continue living in Thailand with her family.

“People like me, Mae Tao Clinic is the only option to get treatment and we can rely on.”

 

Ma Htoo is a mother of a newborn baby, who is 31 years old. She has 5 children including the newborn: the eldest is 5 years old. She is originally from Burma, moved into Thailand over 10 years ago. She has been living in Mae Tao area[1]. Her family, including herself, has no legal status such as residence permit or work permit in Thailand. She and her husband are daily workers, making around THB 100 – 150 (USD 3 – 4.5) per day.[2] Although the income is very low, they are provided with an accommodation by their employer, so they can somehow live a hand to mouth existence with the low income. In her village, there is no clinic and around 90 – 100 households are made up of migrant workers. Most villagers know about Mae Tao Clinic and get treatment when they have health issues.

She has delivered her 4 babies, including the newborn at Mae Tao Clinic. When she was pregnant with the youngest one, she started attending antenatal care since 2nd month of her pregnancy. She revisited the clinic following the schedule appointed by the Reproductive Health Outpatient Department (RHOPD) staff.

Yesterday, she felt contractions so she came to the clinic during the night. Her baby boy was born 3 hours after she went into labour. During and after the delivery, there was no complication and the baby was healthy; the birthweight was 3.2 kg (7.05 lbs). The baby hasn’t received vaccination yet so she is waiting.

“I will go back home when we are discharged and get back to work as usual because we need money. I will come back to the clinic for next rounds vaccination for my baby,” said Ma Htoo. “I together with my husband have no plan to go back to Burma at all. We’d like to live in Thailand as long as possible and send our children to Thai school if possible.”

“I genuinely appreciate Mae Tao Clinic providing health care services to people in need. Staff at the clinic are very supportive and kind, and always take good care of patients fairly and sincerely. The staff have a good relationship with patients, which is amazing,” Ma Hoo told us during the interview.

“I’ve never even dreamed about that Mae Tao Clinic would close down. People like me, the clinic is the only option that we can rely on,” she added.


 

 

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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.


[1] 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. The district (Amphoe) Mae Sot, Tak province is subdivided into 10 subdistricts. Mae Tao is one of the subdistricts. [Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mae_Sot, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mae_Sot_District]

[2] 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.

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