There I was, just minding my own business, up on the hill talking to the squatters when as usual, I had drawn a crowd. In the US, I am usually followed by cats. But here, as there are at any one time, only a hand full of white people and most of those are vacationing or married to locals and not helping the locals as I have decided to do, I am some what of an oddity.
One of the grandmothers asked if I wanted to see her grandson who has a medical issue. Why of course I would! As I turned around there was her daughter carrying her 4 yr old son with a bonafide hydrocephalus head!
We do not see too many in the US because, well we have DOCTORS and hospitals and shunts and things like this. She had already been to the ‘doctors’ who said the boy can’t be operated on. With more direct questioning, in Tacloban (before the hurricane) there are doctors who can operate but the related costs had to be carried by the family. Such as food and medicine and travel expenses. Even if the doctor / hospital is free, the medications and support costs are not.
So, the family did what most squatter families do, they went home and waited for nature to take its course (death).
Which brings me up to today and standing up on a hill, surrounded by mostly women and kids with the men at a distance gawking but too shy to approach. Currently in Tacloban there are several foreign medical mission programs. As I understand it, they use the Philippine Department of Families and Children to screen the masses and filter out the ones who are not really sick.
Today the mother is supposed to take her kid to the local office to start the paperwork to get the kid accepted for evaluation and treatment. I told the mother / grandmother that I would provide the money for travel and medications if they pushed this and followed the schedule of events.
Which is where currently the little girl with the bad double cleft issues is now. In Tacloban waiting for her respiratory infection to clear up and then have her surgery. Her pictures from last year are on the web site www.philippinebasicneeds.com
I will be following up with the mother of the little boy today and will then be in a better position
to see what will be happening. See the pictures.