Meet Our Patients (26): San Htoo’s Story – Acute Watery Diarrhea Case


When a nine-month-old patient, San Htoo, was diagnosed with acute watery diarrhea and admitted at Child In-Patient Department, he had watery diarrhea and abdominal pain for three days and vomited everything he consumed. He was feverish and dehydrated. During the interview, we could see San Htoo became healthy. He was making a bright smile to us while enjoying cookies.


San Htoo is a 9-month-old boy admitted at Child In-Patient Department (IPD), Mae Tao Clinic. He has one older brother who is 6-year-old and his name is Naung Lin Phyo.

San Htoo’s parents have lived in Mae Sot,[1] Thailand for 5 years. They came from Mawlamyine,[2] Burma/Myanmar to Thailand in search of work to support the family.

His parents work at a factory that produces men’s Longie.[3] They earn THB 5,000 (USD 158) and THB 2,000 (USD 63) per month respectively. His mom doesn’t work every day to take care of the older son. The monthly rent is THB 2,700 (USD 85), excluding bills, which is almost 40 percent of their salaries combined.

His mom doesn’t have any official document to stay or work in Thailand. Her husband has a Certificate of Identity. [4] She said that she is afraid of getting caught by the Thai authority because of their illegal status.

San Htoo was born at MTC and his mom came to Antenatal Care visit for a couple of times. She knows when there are some health issues she can come to Mae Tao Clinic without concerns over her legal status, medical bills or language barriers. San Htoo had watery diarrhea and abdominal pain for three days and vomited everything he consumed. He was feverish and dehydrated. He was diagnosed with acute watery diarrhea and admitted at MTC for 7 days. Medics provided vitamin B1 and vitamin B6, ORS (Oral Rehydration Salt) and IV fluid (Ranger). After the treatment, San Htoo’s condition got much better and the medic allowed him to leave from the clinic.

Now his mom is waiting for his dad to pick them up by bicycle because they don’t have enough money to go back home by motorbike taxi – it cost THB 100 (USD 3.2) on their way to the clinic. His mom said that they often had to borrow some money from their neighbors. Last month, for instance, they needed to borrow some for her mother in-law’s funeral in Burma/Myanmar.

“We come to MTC every time when we get sick because MTC provides the free health service. We can’t afford to pay for medical expenses at other clinics or hospitals in Thailand. If we go to Mae Sot General Hospital, it costs a lot that is over our monthly salary,” said San Htoo’s mom during the interview. “If we went to other local clinics we would have had to pay at least THB 700 (USD 22).  Now I only have 20 Baht in my hands after paying for the taxi. During admission, my son not only received treatment but also health supplements including milk, eggs, and fruit every day and the clinic provided food for me as well. I can’t afford to feed my children at home like the MTC. I really appreciate the clinic a lot providing the free health care services. We, migrant workers, are so lucky to have the MTC. The clinic is priceless for the poor like me.”

This interview was conducted on January 7, 2018

Child Health Care At Mae Tao Clinic in 2017

We observed an increased number of children diagnosed with malnutrition in 2017 as well. Children less than 5 years old diagnosed with severe acute malnutrition were admitted and got intense treatment consisting of therapeutic feeding. During their admission, these children benefitted from a comprehensive program, including: deworming; vitamins supplementation; malaria and tuberculosis screening. Families were given education in nutrition, hygiene, malnutrition danger signs and safe feeding. After discharge, regular follow-up is offered with ration food provided. We have observed a large number of children with malnutrition as a secondary complication of underlying conditions such as cerebral palsy, tuberculosis, HIV, congenital diseases and chronic gastrointestinal problems. A noted increase in malnutrition may be attributed to better screening practices.

Total screening (children under 5 years old) 9,095
Malnutrition (mild) 1,996
Morderate and severe acute malnutrition 797



[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. [Wikipedia:]

[2] Mawlamyine is the fourth largest city of Burma/Myanmar, 300 km south east of Yangon. The city is the capital and largest city of Mon State, Burma/Myanmar and is the main trading center and seaport in south eastern Myanmar. [Wikipedia:]

[3]longyi is a sheet of cloth widely worn in Burma.  It is worn around the waist, running to the feet. It is held in place by folding fabric over without a knot. [Wikipedia:]

[4] The Certificate of Identity (CI) is for migrants who don’t have a Burmese ID card and household registration document at hand. A CI will allow migrants to travel freely in order to obtain necessary documents and ultimately apply for a Burmese Passport. Issuing the CI began since 2017, but at the workshop for the CI policy, migrants talked about the difficulties and inconveniences of reporting to immigration officials every 90 days, being exploited by agents regarding documentation and problems concerning wages. [Foundation for Education and Development:, Thai PBS:]