Myanmar child with heart disease recovers with help from China

October 21, 2020

An 11-year-old Myanmar child patient with congenital heart disease took a big step to escape from long-suffering in midsummer of 2017.

On April 17, 2017, Wut Yee Tun and her father, Mya Thein, left home to receive surgery treatment in Beijing, along with other Myanmar children from less privileged households, who were suffering from congenital heart disease.

The medical program aided by the China Charity Federation under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative became a turning point for Wut Yee Tun towards a healthier future.

On the day of her operation at Beijing Anzhen Hospital, Wut Yee Tun was sent to the operating room in the afternoon. During every second of her operation, her father was in a tough battle against unbearable anxiety and fear outside the operating room.

"Wut Yee Tun was seriously ill and hardly able to walk. During the checkup days, she needed her father to carry her on his back or to sit on a wheelchair," Htike Lwin Ko, a volunteer who helped them during the stay at the hospital.

Hearing that his daughter was diagnosed with congenital heart disease when she was about one and a half years old was a traumatic experience for Mya Thein as he had heartbreaking experience of his father dying of sudden cardiac arrest in the past.

"Since we knew our daughter's health condition, we did take a good care of her and were cautious not to let her do serious physical activity," the father recalled.

"Whenever she got a heart attack, she suffered from cyanosis or bluish discoloration of the skin and loss of appetite. If she ate something, she would throw up," he said.

Besides her physical pain, Wut Yee Tun's frequent appointments with doctors affected her father's career of working at construction sites and the medical bills became a financial burden to the low-income family.

"When she was six years old, we learnt that it will cost about 5 million kyats (over 3,906 U.S. dollars) for the surgical treatment of her disease. With that amount of money, we could buy a piece of land and a house in our neighbourhood. It was beyond our financial capability and not possible to borrow from our relatives," he said.

The hard days of the young girl and her family were over when Wut Yee Tun was chosen along with other children to receive free surgeries in the capital of China under the medical program launched by the China Charity Federation on March 28, 2017.

"I was emotional and in tears of joy when I knew my daughter could undergo free surgery in China," the girl's mother said.

All the long sufferings of the young girl and her family ended after the doctor announced the successful operation on the evening of her operation day.

Wut Yee Tun, now 14, has recovered from the disease and is living her best life with her family in Yangon's Dala, even helping her mother with household chores. Her father is getting his career back on track without having to worry about her health condition.

"I miss the warm care of the doctors and volunteers during my stay in Beijing. When I grow up, I want to be an interpreter like the ones who helped me in China," Wut Yee Tun recounted her memorable moments in Beijing three years ago.

Following her successful surgery, the young girl expressed her appreciation to China in a letter, promising to work hard in playing her role in strengthening Myanmar-China friendship in the future.