Maung Too (46) lives with his wife, two daughters and two sons in a village in Karen State, Burma. Three of his children go to school, while the fourth is not yet old enough to study. Prior to his health problems, both Maung and his wife worked as day labourers. However, when he became too ill to work, he became a homemaker. His wife makes 3,500 kyat (approx. 3.5 USD) per day, which is not enough to cover their daily expenses nor pay for basic healthcare. In times of need, they borrow money from their neighbours.
GETTING SICK IS COSTLY
In 2016, Maung started to experience pain in his back and lower abdomen. He went to his local hospital to get checked, but only received an injection, which reduced his pain for about a week. Soon after, he started to have difficulty passing urine and could no longer work. Although he wanted to seek further medical help, they could not afford to do so. Maung’s condition worsened in August 2018. The pain in his back and lower abdomen became severe, and it became even more difficult for him to pass urine. His local hospital referred him to Kawkareik Hospital, when the oral medication and injection they gave him did not work. At Kawkareik Hospital, Maung was admitted and received an X-Ray, ultrasound and blood test. When the results came back, the doctor told him that he had a stone in his bladder. He was told he needed surgery and that he would have to go to Yangon or Nay Pyi Taw because they could not perform it at Kawkareik Hospital. At first Maung planned to return home once he was discharged, since he could not afford to pay for surgery. On his way out of the hospital, he ran into a friend who told him about Mae Tao Clinic (MTC), a free clinic in Thailand, and suggested he go there instead.
With the help of his friend, Maung made his way to the clinic, arriving on the 15th of August 2018. He was admitted right away and received a blood and urine test, as well as an ultrasound. After checking his results, the medic confirmed that he has a bladder stone and that he need surgery. He was then referred to Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF) for assistance accessing treatment.
REMOVING the STONE
With BCMF’s help, Maung was admitted at Mae Sot Hospital on the 23rd of August 2018. He was given a blood and urine test before undergoing surgery to remove the bladder stone, five days after his admission. Unfortunately, Maung faced complications when he woke up from surgery. He had to receive a blood transfusion and he was kept on an intravenous (IV) line for eight days. Maung remained at the hospital for over a month before he was discharged on the 26th of September 2018.
Maung’s condition has improved since his surgery. After his long admission in the hospital, Maung needs to use a wheelchair to get around. However, he no longer suffers from pain in his abdomen and back. He can also pass urine without difficulty though he still has some pain at the site of the surgical incision. His wife said, “I am very happy to see that my husband is alive. Before I came to Thailand, many people in Burma told me that my husband would not live much longer as he looked very weak and tired because of his condition. I cried a lot when I saw that he was in pain but now I can be happy. I can’t wait to see him fully recovered! We are looking forward to returning home and showing the other villagers our new-found hope. Now our family can be together again and we can enjoy our time together.”