Meet Our Patients (52): Wint Hmoe Naing’s Story — Acute Severe Malnutrition

1 year and 6 months old Wint Hmoe Naing was a healthy little girl. After 3 months of separation with her mom, Wint Hmoe Naing became severely sick, couldn’t eat or walk and didn’t react to anything. She has wounds and scars on her whole body…

 

Wint Hmoe Naing (patient) and Thi Htar Hlaing (mother) making a bright smile to our staff

Wint Hmoe Naing is 1 year and 6 months old, and the daughter of Thi Htar Hlaing. Thi Htar Hlaing has two children: 6 years old Thu Yang Naing Lay and Wint Hmoe Naing. The elder child stays with his grandparents in Yangon[1], Burma, attending nursery school.

The mother and her husband could not find regular jobs back in Burma so they left Yangon for Thailand 4 years ago. Her husband holds a temporary passport but she does not have any legal documents.[2] They make THB 180 (USD 5.5) and THB 260 (USD 8) per day, respectively. They have no holiday in general except public holiday.

“With regard to the job situation, Thailand is much better than Burma. Now we have regular jobs here.”

3 months ago, Thi Htar Hlaing asked her mother in law to look after her daughter, as she had not been able to work since her daughter was born. Her daughter had been staying with her mother in law in Yangon. One day Thi Htar Hlaing had a bad dream about her daughter, which made her feel anxious and miss her daughter badly. So, she took a vacation, went back to Yangon, Burma to see her daughter. When she arrived at her mother in law’s house, she was shocked by seeing her daughter — her daughter was in a very bad shape. Her child was severely sick, could not eat or walk and did not react to anything. She had wounds and scars on her body. She was severely wasted, much thinner than 3 months ago. Thi Htar Hlaing knew immediately that her daughter has been sick and neglected for a long time. Regardless of this serious situation, her mother in law neither informed her nor took care of her granddaughter at all. Thi Htar Hlaing immediately took her daughter and came back to Thailand. She came to Mae Tao Clinic with her daughter directly.

“I could not think of going to a clinic or hospital in Burma regardless of my daughter’s bad condition, as I cannot afford medical bills in Burma. She was delivered in Mae Tao Clinic and I also attended antenatal care here before the delivery. So, I thought of bringing my daughter to Mae Tao Clinic because I’ve known how much health workers here are dedicating and taking good care of patients. When my daughter was born, the birth weight was normal (2.7 kg) and she was healthy.”

Wint Hmoe Naing looks much healthier, could walk and eat after the malnutrition treatment (NB. she is wearing Burmese traditional face decoration)

Wint Hmoe Naing taking formula milk (NB. she is wearing Burmese traditional face decoration)

When her daughter arrived at the clinic, Child Inpatient Department (CIPD) staff examined her and she was diagnosed with severe acute malnutrition. She showed several signs and symptoms including dried, itching and ulcered skin, fever, weight loss, and she could not walk or eat. CIPD staff provided her with intensive malnutrition care: formula milk, nutritious food, deworming tablets, antibiotics and multivitamin including folic acid. Now she feels better and her condition has been improving. She gained around 2 kg during her admission, from 6.9 kg (6 August 2018) to 8.7 kg (18 August 2018). Now she can call her mom, eat, walk and play. Nevertheless, she should stay in the CIPD for one more week to be checked for any potential risks and provided nutritional care.

When we visited the CIPD, Wint Hmoe Naing warmly welcomed us. Now she can walk and run around the ward.

“I cannot thank enough to Mae Tao Clinic’s health services and donors who make this happen. Staff at CIPD are very responsive and kind. Thank you for everything,” said Thi Htar Hlaing while looking at her daughter with a big smile.

 

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In 2017, because of our improved screening practices and adequate implementation of simplified malnutrition guidelines, a growing number of children have been diagnosed with malnutrition, resulting in increased treatment and follow-up of this serious condition. From a total of 9,095 screenings, 2,792 children were diagnosed with some form of malnutrition.

During their admission, malnourished children benefit from a comprehensive management programme, including deworming, vitamin supplementation, and malaria and tuberculosis screening. Families are given education in nutrition, hygiene and child development and well-being.


[1] 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.

[2] 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]

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