Refuge for the poor

The Philippine General Hospital (PGH) is one of the oldest hospitals in the country. It is also one of the largest in terms of patient referrals. To this day, PGH remains to be one of the few government hospitals where patients do not pay for basic services. The PGH Department of Pediatrics serves 62,000 patients annually. Of this number, approximately 7,000 patients are admitted in the PGH pediatric general wards, 15,000 seen at the OPD clinics, 10,000 newborns are directly roomed in with their mothers upon birth, and between 25,000 and 30,000 consult at the emergency room, and are either sent home or transferred to other hospitals. It is the only pediatrics department in the country with a complete complement of pediatric subspecialties, from adolescent pediatrics and allergy and immunology to cardiology, infectious and tropical diseases, neonatology, pediatric intensive care, and many other fields. On the average, the cost of treatment for common illnesses like diarrhea and pneumonia is around P10,000-P15,000 per hospital stay. For dengue and typhoid, it is P20,000. The budget of PGH is only P1,500 per patient. On the average, around P300 million is needed each year to support the patients in the wards, PICU, and NIC

CHILD Foundation supports more than 600 patients monthly at the pediatric wards.

For the year 2010, CHILD provided an average of over P700,000 per month for patients admitted to the pediatric wards. The commonly admitted cases are children suffering from pneumonia, diarrhea, neonatal sepsis, meningitis, leukemia and other forms of cancer, dengue, and typhoid.

A few little victories

Fatima and Erica

Fatima and Erica lost their parents when they were three months old, and were taken in by their uncle and aunt. When they turned 2, Fatima began experiencing frequent nosebleeds, and her abdomen began to swell. She was diagnosed at PGH with Gaucher’s disease, a rare metabolic disorder that causes enlargement of the liver and spleen. When doctors found out that Fatima had an identical twin sister, Erica, she was also screened and diagnosed as positive.

With the help of the Institute of Human Genetics, the National Institute of Health, and CHILD Foundation, donors were found who could help shoulder the girls’ medical expenses. Since then, the girls have gone on to live healthy and happy lives. Fatima and Erica come to PGH every two weeks for treatment. Genzyme Corporation has been providing the medicine for the last eight years.

Isaiah

In June 2009, Isaiah, an outgoing 12-year-old, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. His family’s resources were quickly drained, and his father eventually abandoned them. With the help of the CHILD Foundation and other donors, Isaiah’s mother was able to come up with resources for her son’s six cycles of chemotherapy as well as his additional check-ups. Today, he is still being monitored, but has been able to continue his studies under the Silahis Special Education Program of PGH, a school within the department for chronically ill children.

Sasha and Tasha Bautista

These twin girls were born prematurely on April 2, 2009, and suffered from a rare condition known as twin-to-twin transfusion, which could lead to various complications in development. For several months after birth, both babies were cared for in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Sasha had to be treated for a cyst that threatened to cause neurological complications, while Tasha suffered from sepsis and had to undergo open heart surgery to treat a hole in her heart. The girls’ family witnessed how the doctors never gave up on saving the children’s lives, with help from the CHILD Foundation; Sasha’s treatment has cost some P66,000, while Tasha’s has amounted to P2.6 million. Today, Sasha and Tasha are both very active girls, learning to walk and speak.

Camille Gayle Vizcarra

Camille was only two-and-a-half years old when she was discovered to be suffering from leukemia. Her mother, a single parent whose only livelihood was selling merienda, was hard-pressed to find resources for Camille’s chemotherapy. Thanks to CHILD Foundation  and  donors,  Camille  was  able  to undergo treatment at the cost of over P700,000, and  continues  to  recover  from  her  illness.  She has recently begun to attend classes under the Silahis Special Education Program..