Dualities

Here is the duality of global health: You live every day with beauty and with brokenness pressed right up against your face. You cannot close your eyes to what it means to live in a world where 18,000 children under 5 die every single day, and this is both a precious privilege and a painful burden.

I thought this one was going to die. He came into my clinic in January terribly sick. His parents had both died, and it seemed likely that he would not live much longer either. But we fought for medicines for him and a place at the emergency shelter, and this week, I got this picture of him commemorating his finish of first grade. You cannot put a price on the light in his eyes.

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But even as I rejoice in being proved wrong in my predictions of death and in seeing a young one escape from those mortality numbers that almost included him, I get the news of a loss. A small boy with complicated health problems for whom we struggled to find an orphanage home after he was abandoned by his mother who just couldn't handle the burden of his medical bills and needs. My housemate had fallen in love with him, and I tried to figure out what we could do for him. But our trying was not enough, and this little life ended this week.

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Hope and hurt. Faith and failure. Beautiful and brutal. Promise and pain. Global health up close.

Posted at 03:12

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