Last week Gertruda died.
Gertruda was a young girl who received in-home services from BCC. Many details of her death are unknown but we do know that she was seen at the hospital because she was throwing up blood. The doctor who examined her said that she had a broken rib and that it would get better in a few days. Gertruda was sent home and four days later passed away.
This is so hard for us even though early death is not unusual in Africa. According to the World Health Organization, in 2008, there were about 8.8 million deaths among children under five years of age, a mortality rate of 65 per 1000 live births. The WHO African Region had the highest mortality at 142 per 1000 live births and accounted for half of all child deaths (4.4 million) worldwide.
It is hard to know if a preventive medical program would have benefited Gertruda due to the short amount of time between when she first went to the hospital and when she passed away. However, her story highlights the difficulties that children with disabilities face in their families, in the medical system, and in life. There are so many unknown details about Gerturda’s story; it is hard to know where she could have been helped.
We know that every child cannot be saved by the programs that BCC is working to implement; however, proper healthcare, basic education, and safety are undeniable human rights. We carry Gertruda’s memory as our inspiration for why we do what we do.
You can remember her only that she is gone,
or you can cherish her memory and let it live on.
From a poem by David Harkins