Sometimes You Just Need a Little Air: Ask MAP, Outreach on Thursday June 13th, 2019

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As part of the Community Health and Empowerment (CHE) sector of the MAP Foundation, MAP employees visit migrant workers dealing with various health related problems. On Thursday June 13th, the MAP outreach team and the summer 2019 interns from Emory University visited a baby girl named Duang in a nearby community. Duang was one and a half years old and was born prematurely. Since birth, Duang has had problems breathing and needs help inhaling an adequate amount of oxygen. At 7 months doctors decided to put a hole in Duang’s neck to help her breathe because she had frequent fevers and breathing issues.

Despite the hole in her neck, CHE still needed machinery to help her inhale an adequate amount of oxygen. In this case, Duang was in need of a nebulizer. Such machines are often expensive, and the family of the child was unable to provide it for their child. Because the family was unable to buy the nebulizer for the child, Duang often became sick and had to go to the doctor. However, Duang’s migrant health insurance card had expired and since her father had recently gotten into a motor accident and has been unable to work, they couldn’t continue taking the child to the hospital and pay for treatment. Because of this situation, the welfare department of the hospital reached out to MAP to see if they could help.

Staff members and the interns set out from the MAP Foundation around 1 pm and headed to the migrant town located in the mountains surrounding Chiang Mai. Before leaving, the CHE team had to secure the nebulizer to the back of the truck to ensure that it would remain intact and useable for the child. The nebulizer was gifted to the MAP Foundation by one of the staff members who had previously used it for the care of her elderly mother. Thanks to her donation, this child’s quality of life was greatly improved.

On the way to the town, the roads became precariously small and rocky. At one point, the CHE team had to stop the car and park a good distance away from the child’s home. On foot, they continued to the migrant community and then returned with people to help transport the nebulizer to Duang’s home. At Duang’s home, the CHE team began to set up the nebulizer where the baby was lying. The baby was incredibly tired, and it was easy to see that she was not breathing well, even with the tube inserted in her neck to help with breathing.

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As the nebulizer was being set up, the CHE team spoke with the child’s parents to learn more about the family’s situation. The father of the child had asked MAP for help delivering the nebulizer because he had recently gotten into a motto accident and broken his leg. Now on bedrest for two months with his leg in a cast, he has been unable to walk or work. Consequently, he and his wife moved to live with their parents in the countryside to seek help taking care of their child. Prior to the motto accident, Duang’s father worked in construction and was the main provider for his family. Duang’s mother spends her time taking care of the baby. Currently, all members of the family, including 4 of the grandparent’s 7 children, rely on the grandparent’s income who are both agricultural workers who harvest chili peppers or flowers depending on the season.

Thanks to the advocacy that MAP has done for Duang the CHE team was able to offer the family help with buying food and water for the two months that the father was on bedrest and thus unable to make an income for his family. The CHE team also talked with the parents about how they can help renew the child’s health insurance card and get Duang and her father to the hospital for a check-up. Additionally, MAP discussed with the grandparents how to assist them with sending their youngest children to school after not attending for a year. The grandparents were mainly unable to send their kids to school because they couldn’t pay for school supplies, fees, or transportation. The MAP Foundation offered to help them their children apply for scholarships and buy the necessary uniforms.

Once the grandfather and the CHE team agreed to pursue schooling for their children, they finished setting up the nebulizer and placed the headset on the child. With air now flowing above Duang’s nose, it seemed as though she had a much easier time breathing and began to wake up and open her eyes. Without the help of the MAP Foundation or the CHE team, the child may continue to struggle with every breath.