Here in North America, there is an ever so slight whisper of spring. Although we just survived an artic blast rarely seen, the promise of spring is apparent. It gives me hope.
Add to the changing equinox, more and more citizens in many nations worldwide are receiving first and second-dose vaccines - and things do feel hopeful. Alas, before I go too much further with this joyous proclamation of renewal, I need to recognize the tremendous challenges occurring in the southern hemisphere.
Latin America is struggling through a challenging second wave. Perú is in the midst of a severe flood of new cases, shaken healthcare system, and the sinking reality of opportunity lost regarding access to vaccines. Although some healthcare workers are getting their first round, it's hard to know how many providers will reach their full vaccine cycle . . . and it is even harder to see when the general citizenry will have access to vaccines.
This past week has brought more struggles in access to oxygen, hospital beds, and intensive care capacity. A six-year-old boy at the Casa Girasoles was taken into emergency surgery for appendicitis late last night. Although the surgery went off without a glitch, a lack of beds in the hospital meant he recovered from the surgery in a hallway and was discharged less than 12 hours after surgery. Over and over again, we are hearing stories of patients unable to get access to care. It is heartbreaking.
We haven't lost hope. We know we will make it through this challenge. We know more and more vaccines will be made available to low- and middle-income countries. We know this will change for the better.
For now, we keep doing what we can. We're focusing on assuring the people we serve can access the resources they need to take care of themselves and their families. We are mindful of the need to keep tracking the future while focusing on the needs of the now.
Spring is coming. A new season will bring new opportunities and new challenges. Whatever it brings, we will remain hopeful . . . and, we keep planning.
The HBI Blog is a rotating journal from our staff. Our Blog is a series of messages from the field, insights from our work, and lessons in service.