Daw Nan (58), a villager from Mon State, Burma lives with her husband and her youngest daughter. She has five other children – two are students while the other three are married. Daw Nan owns a small plot of land, where they grow beans and other vegetables. She also raises chickens and keeps a pig. Her youngest daughter looks after their neighbor’s buffalo and is given 30 tang (approx. 900 kg) of rice as payment in a year. Her husband is too ill to work and her married children are unable to help with expenses. If Daw Nan’s household needs cash, they have to sell a chicken and if they are in need of food, they borrow rice from their relatives.
In 2013, Daw Nan knew something was wrong when she felt like something was falling out of her uterus. Neighbors told her to go to a hospital in Hpa-An, Karen State or Yangon, but she could not afford transportation, medical care as well as food. She lived with her condition for three years, before making her way to Mae Tao Clinic (MTC), a free clinic in Mae Sot, Thailand. At MTC she was examined by a midwife who diagnosed her with a prolapsed uterus. MTC staff knew she needed surgery, but as Daw Nan could not afford it, they referred her to Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF) for financial assistance accessing treatment.
In late November 2016, BCMF arranged a number of appointments for Daw Nan at Mae Sot Hospital. There she was given a physical examination, a pap test, an X-Ray, a blood test and an admission date for surgery. She returned to Mae Sot Hospital on 5 December 2016 and was admitted. The next day she received a vaginal hysterectomy, and she was discharged on 14 December 2016.
Before surgery, Daw Nan’s prolapsed uterus made her life very difficult. She felt uncomfortable sitting down or walking, and she had back pain. She was uncomfortable and embarrassed to meet with friends, and she avoided village festivals and weddings. After surgery, Daw Nan feels comfortable sitting down and walking. Despite mild back pain she feels much better. “I feel much happier compared to before and all my family members are happy with my surgery’s result,” she said. Once she is back on her feet, she is looking forward to working on their small plot of land.