I didn’t know what to do. It was looking so desperate! I had just gone home from church when I saw that my 9-month-old baby was so weak. She’d lost her energy. She was so pale. And she kept coughing, so much that she couldn’t sleep. When she’d nurse, she would vomit. I decided to rush her to the public hospital in the next town. It was late at night; I wasn’t going to wait for the clinics to open.
On top of everything, she had loose bowels and vomited as soon as we got to the ER. I felt the situation was looking hopeless. To find out what was wrong, I took her stool and blood samples to the laboratory. The doctor told me she had pneumonia. And worms.
They placed an IV in her and gave us a prescription to treat the pneumonia. I wanted her to get better so badly but I had no idea how I was going to pay for all these. I had nothing! After my last job as a construction worker, I wasn’t getting hired anymore.
I had to find help quickly! A patient I’d just met told me to go to the government’s social welfare services in the hospital that can take care of our expenses. Another patient, a very nice lady, took pity on us and gave me some money for the medicine. Finally, we were able to go home. Still for two weeks, we were in and out of the hospital as my baby battled pneumonia.
Somehow, because of the kindness of strangers and with government aid, everything worked out. I don’t know what would have happened otherwise. My baby’s much better now. Her cough has eased and she can finally sleep. She’s finally smiling again.
Bernie Sevilla, Father, Unemployed
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Pneumonia is the leading cause of childhood deaths and its vaccine remains unaffordable for many families. How might we empower the Filipino diaspora to pressure pharmaceutical companies, Pfizer and GSK to drop the price of pneumonia vaccination?