Photo Credit to Dr. Ophelia Galano-Barte

Future Dreamers

By Kerri Merritt
By Kerri Merritt, Medical Outreach Intern

As children, we’re led to believe the future can be anything we want it to be. We’re encouraged, almost expected, to dream about what our lives will be like one day or even 10 years from now. With the help of our friends, we plan what job we’re going to have, what our wedding will be like, and what our kids names will be. Although our vision of the future may change many times, our ability to dream about the future gives us feelings of hope and optimism.

[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”@AmeriCares” suffix=””]For many different reasons, we often forget that not every child has the chance to dream.[/inlinetweet] For many children throughout the world, the future is something they fear. Dr. Ophelia Galano-Barte, however, is striving to ensure that every child has the opportunity to dream and achieve the future they dream of.

Leading a volunteer medical team, Dr. Barte traveled to the province of Leyte in the Philippines following Typhoon Haiyan to bring care to patients suffering from upper respiratory infections, hypertension, diabetes mellitus and malnutrition. With medicines and vitamins donated by the AmeriCares Medical Outreach program, Dr. Barte and her team saw 901 patients at the Albuera Municipal Health Center during their 19-day trip. When she returned, Dr. Barte told us a particularly touching story about a 2-year-old girl with a fever who traveled with her mother to the Health Center.

Photo Credit to Dr. Ophelia Galano-Barte
Photo by Dr. Ophelia Galano-Barte

While providing doctors with her daughter’s medical history, the mother, 36, revealed she was the youngest of 10 children. The doctors also made note that the young girl was not walking or talking. During her physical exam, she cried as the doctors tried to look into her mouth; her eyes produced no tears to accompany her wails. When the doctors asked the patient’s mother if she had ever seen this before, she said yes. Given the child’s past medical history and her physical exam, the doctors diagnosed the young girl with malnutrition and gave her multivitamins, iron supplements, antibiotics and ibuprofen.

Thanks to the work of Dr. Barte and the donated products from AmeriCares, this young patient received the necessary care she needed to help her toward a healthier future to pursue her dreams. Unfortunately, not every child is as lucky as this young patient. The WHO reports that globally, 25 percent of children under the age of 5 are found to have stunted growth from long-term insufficient nutrient intake and frequent infections. Stunting usually occurs before the age of 2 and results in irreversible motor and cognitive development.

The continued efforts of passionate doctors like Dr. Barte, along with support from AmeriCares, ensure that more children around the world will have the chance to dream of a bright future.

“We are guilty of many errors and many faults, but our worst crime is abandoning the children, neglecting the foundation of life. [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”@americares” suffix=”~ Gabriela Mistral #quote”]Many of the things we need can wait. The child cannot.[/inlinetweet] Right now is the time his bones are being formed, his blood is being made and his senses are being developed.

To him we cannot answer “Tomorrow”. His name is ‘Today.'”

~ Gabriela Mistral, 1948

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