Dr Wia A4D Doctor Myanmar

Dr Wai Yan Toe spent two years as an A4D Doctor in northern Myanmar. As a Type 1 Diabetes specialist funded by the charity, Dr Wai was integral in improving the quality of care across the region. Here is his story:

In April 2018, Dr Wai Yan Toe discovered that young people in his home country were struggling to cope with Type 1 Diabetes. Historically, the condition is not common in Myanmar because often it goes undiagnosed.

But luckily, Dr Wai decided to volunteer at an A4D Diabetes Camp at the 550 Bedded Hospital in Mandalay. He did not know at the time, but the camp was the beginning of a new chapter in his medical career.

A4D Doctor in Myanmar injecting to test blood sugar levels
Dr Wai on a home visit. He regularly travelled long distances to see young people with Type 1 Diabetes at home.

Dr Wai joined A4D as part of our Health Capacity Building program, having a positive impact on Type 1 Diabetes care in Myanmar. With the support of Professor Dr Myint Nilar, here are two of his greatest achievements:

Dr Wai persistently tracked down patients in remote areas to make sure they were receiving proper treatment. He believed everyone deserved access to care.

“In my time with A4D, there were many challenges. One was that some parents or guardians did not fully understand the dangerous long-term health consequences of Type 1 Diabetes (T1D). They would disappear and not contact the hospital for insulin supplies and support.

Uncontrolled T1D can be fatal, and proper clinical care from experts health professionals is very important. My job was always to explain this, and to tell them that A4D would be providing the essential medical supplies through the clinic.

I managed to get most patients back on track after they had disappeared. Many are now motivated and are doing well. There is no doubt that if they were not seeking proper clinical care and not injecting insulin regularly, they could not have survived. I’m proud to have been part of the A4D team in saving and transforming their lives.”

Dr Wai played an essential part in driving the A4D Protein Food Basket scheme in Myanmar.

“The Protein Food Basket is the nutrition programme which we started in September 2019. It began because we noticed several T1D children with below-average weight and height for their respective age.

The slow growth of these children may be due to two factors.

  1. Not having enough protein and quality nutritious food in their regular meal due to the financial status of the family 
  2. Having fixed carbohydrate diet not fulfilling the daily total calorie requirement

To prevent this, we began providing nutritious food: chicken, egg and milk powder. The food can help the physical growth of these children and patients could collect their protein basket when they came into the hospitals.”

Dr Wai Yan Toe A4D Doctor helping with Type 1 Diabetes care in Myanmar
Dr Wia conducting discussing a patient with nurses in Mandalay

Dr Wai has finished his role with A4D to pursue a medical masters. His particular interest is in primary care, and his ambition is to become a public health expert and play a central role in improving the health of people in his community. We hope that his experience with A4D will set him will for a successful and impactful career.

We were pleased to hear Dr Wai will take some fond memories with him. Particularly of the A4D Diabetes Family camps that, after his initial voluntary work, he helped to organise in Myanmar. He said, ‘taking part in the camp, doing outdoor activities together with T1D family and spending time with the T1D children and their family. It was is wonderful.”

We wish Dr Wai all the best for the future and thank him for telling contributions. We are pleased to say that Dr Htun Lin Kyaw has taken up the role.

Dr Htun Lin Kyaw will be taking over as A4D Type 1 Diabetes support doctor in Mandalay

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