Broken Bones and Health Care Systems

Who hasn’t broken a bone growing up? It’s almost a rite-of-passage. You probably get a cool story, and a cast with drawings and your friends’ names on it. For most kids who have access to health care, a broken bone is little more than an inconvenience.

In the small town of Copan Ruinas, however, it is not so simple. The majority of health care facilities in Honduras are concentrated in urban areas, leaving rural communities with little recourse for emergencies. Local health centers provide basic services, and have a referral system with the public hospitals. The closest public hospital to us is in Santa Rosa de Copan, a much bigger town located two hours away by car, and three by public transportation.

Little Josue recently broke a bone in his arm, and his mother had to take him to Santa Rosa for medical attention. Unfortunately, the public hospital only does those kinds of surgeries on Wednesdays, and the injury happened on a Thursday; he would have had to wait a whole six days with a broken bone. His mother couldn’t afford that; not only because of the travel costs but because those are days in which she cannot work, or look after her other children.

In theory, health care is “free” in Honduras. That is of course provided you have the bus fare to reach the medical facility, the money to pay for accommodation and someone to take care of the rest of your children. For the child of a single mother with little to no education and an unstable job, accessing health care is almost impossible.

If Josue was not in our program, this broken arm could have been life-ruining for his entire family. His mother had the options to wait until Wednesday in a town she is not familiar with, or transfer her child to a private hospital and pay out of pocket – both very expensive and likely to bring about significant debt – or worst of all, out of desperation and obligation to her other children, let time run its course and most likely leave her child with a permanent disability.

Josue has Casita Copan as a safety net, hence he was able to be transferred into a private facility, get surgery, and come back to Copan Ruinas – all within 24 hours of his injury. When he returns to the Children’s Center we will be expecting him, with markers and pens to get creative on his cast, because being part of our Sponsorship Program gives Josue the opportunity to experience childhood how childhood should be: playful and carefree.

With 54 children under our care for most of the day, these types of accidents could happen at any moment, and we need to be prepared. By becoming a sponsor, you can ensure that a child like Josue can have a backup plan, and that a broken bone will not lead to a breakdown in the family. Become a sponsor and Change a World today!