|From ordinary community member to trustworthy community leader|
By World Vision
Ma Han Su Yee has been a volunteer at World Vision’s TB project in Loikaw since the project started in 2007. She will never forget the September morning in 2009, when a seriously ill Ma Mee Mee Khan came to her house with her very concerned sister. For sometime Ma Mee had been heavily coughing up blood before she went to see Ma Han. Her illness, which also made her frequently sick, meant she was unable to look after her five children very well. And with fears of getting infected, her neighbours started to avoid her entire family.
Ma Han recognised the seriousness of Ma Mee’s illness and immediately took her to the state hospital, where she had a chest x-ray and a sputum sample tested. The examining doctor told Ma Mee that she had tuberculosis. She had suffered from TB before, as a category 1 patient (sputum testing positive for TB), but she stopped taking medication after four months. Considering these circumstances, the doctor treated Ma Mee as category 2 (probable medical resistance to treatment).
Ma Han realised the need for Ma Mee to make an informed decision and commitment to the treatment in order to cure herself and her family members. To ensure this and to understand the entire family’s situation she counselled them several times during the initial period. The discussions helped Ma Mee decide to have her children undergo the medical check-ups, and if infected, to receive treatment. Three of her children were found to have TB.
Support staff at World Vision also encouraged Ma Mee's family to look after each other and to take their medicine regularly, with Ma Han visiting them throughout the course of the treatment. They discussed their issues with Ma Han, who would find solutions for them as well as to conduct follow-up examinations. In July 2010, almost 10 months after Ma Mee first went to see Ma Han, the doctor re-examined Ma Mee and her children finding that they had all recovered. Ma Mee was delighted. She expressed her gratitude to Ma Han and World Vision staff, saying, “we only have you to thank for extending our lives”.
Ma Han Su Yee said, “I have now participated in a number of behaviour change communications and other training that World Vision has provided”. With a big and contended smile, she said, “it has changed my life from an ordinary community member to a trustworthy leader of the community"