Today, we share with you Jose’s story of hope – a story of a man who turned his grief into a motivation to help his community live healthier and have hope.
It was a Sunday of August 2019, and Jose was at the community clinic in El Bambu. There were around 20 patients waiting. Because of the rainy season, there were a lot more cases of pneumonia, fever, and diarrhea. Jose was glad to be of service to the people in his community.
One of the patients was Gerald, a one-year old boy. His mother, Geraldine, was worried because he had been sick for three days. It started like a cold, then he was coughing and had a fever. When Geraldine saw his abdomen making a visible effort to breathe, she remembered the signs of danger Jose had taught them about at community health talks. She knew her son needed immediate help.
Despite being pregnant, Geraldine carried her baby boy all the way to the community clinic, where she knew Jose would be able to help him.
When Jose examined Gerald he was breathing rapidly and with difficulty, had a fever (101 Fahrenheit), and was getting worse every minute. Following the guidelines in trainings with AMOS staff, he provided an initial dose of antibiotics and acetaminophen, as well as oral rehydration salts, and referred the boy to the nearest health center, located 2 hours away by bus.
However, going to the health center was not an option for Geraldine. Her husband grows crops and they have a few cows, but she could not afford the C$400 (around $11.5) round-trip fare. She also remembered reports of other moms that medical staff are sometimes unavailable on Sundays. So, Geraldine took the medicines Jose provided for free, listened to his counseling, and took her baby home.
Jose kept in touch to oversee the progress of the baby, and he was glad that Gerald was no longer sick a few days later. Because of the illness, Gerald lost some weight, but a month later he had already recovered. “Thanks to God and AMOS, we had the knowledge and medicines to help him,” said Jose.
“Cases like this remind me of my niece, who died of pneumonia many years ago, before I was a Health Promoter and we had medicines in the community, before AMOS started working with us. She died in my arms and there was nothing we could do to help her. We didn’t know how to. From then on, I decided we couldn’t let that happen again. No other child was going to die from a preventable or treatable disease in our community.”
That tragedy inspired Jose to become a Health Promoter, and his brother (the father of the girl) to be an active member of the health committee to this day.
Thanks to AMOS supporters like you, El Bambu has access to basic, but life-saving health care. Thanks to you, Geraldine can see her son grow healthy. Thanks to you, Gerald is alive.