According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), an estimated 5.2 million children under 5 years died in 2019, mostly from preventable/treatable causes. Moreover, 98% of children needing palliative care each year live in low and middle-income countries, where these services are not easily accessible or of high quality (WHO). Often, parents/guardians in low-income settings are facing their own challenges and medical complications, unable to provide basic food and shelter for their families and thus also face mental and emotional struggles due to these situations. Their children are then also unable to receive the necessary care they need, due to unaffordable clinical bills and lack of quality healthcare access in their area.
At the age of 3, Iradukunda had already been trapped in hospital for 2 years due to respiratory failure. For patients who have better access to healthcare, such as in the UK, children are often safely discharged with the provision of equipment and training for parents and continued support. For Iradukunda in Rwanda, there was nowhere for her to go and no support on offer. Her family were all HIV positive. They had no shelter, and her mother was a single parent. For over half her life, she was unable to leave the hospital or afford the care she needed.
However, with your donations, she has now safely returned home with a concentrator & oxygen, medicine, as well as shelter, meals, clothes and hygiene material provided for her and her family.
Millions around the world face similar difficulties and challenges to Iradukunda, and with the impact of COVID-19 on already strained healthcare services, those in low-resource settings will struggle even more – sometimes with devastating consequences. Increased access to quality medical care and financial and social support for vulnerable families is therefore essential for those in need. This World Children’s Day, let us pledge to build and reimagine a world in which children like Iradukunda are given the care they need.
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