After the June 5th announcement of the indefinite closure of the burn unit in the Ruth Paz Children’s Hospital due to lack of a budget, a fundraiser has been set up to try and reopen the area.
In a press conference, administrative personnel informed the public that they were forced to close because the government did not follow through with funding, even though an agreement promising help was signed the 31st of January, 2013. For full operation of the hospital, 50 million Lempiras is needed.
The Ruth Paz burn unit hopes to reopen by raising sufficient funds through an event called “What Will You Do for Honduras?” The activity, lead by Colombian swimmer Andrés Egas, consists of Egas swimming Lake Yojoa on September 28, 2013. People are encouraged to join in the event by entering to swim Lake Yojoa themselves, and collecting pledges, or to support the burn unit by pledging payment for the purchase of kilometers.
The president of the Ruth Paz Foundation sees it as a challenge, saying, “We welcome the presence of swimmer Andrés Egas, who has already been swimming in Lake Yojoa with us in 2009, and with the proceeds from that, we bought equipment. Now he’s here, supporting us again, to challenge the crisis the hospital is going through.”
Egas, who has lived in the country of Honduras for the past 17 years, expects to see the support of citizens and companies on the 28th of September for this activity. He seeks, by this action, to change the perspective of Hondurans, he sees it “as a movement that is born of hope for Honduras because we are saturated with bad news and negativism”.
Additional Information about the Ruth Paz Hospital for Burn Children and Pediatric Surgery
- Within 15 months of opening the Ruth Paz Hospital for Burn Children and Pediatric Surgery, 954 children received surgery within the following specialties: general surgery, plastic surgery, orthopedics, maxillofacial, urology, hypospadias, hand, cleft lip and palate, and cardiology.
- Between June 2012 and January 2013, 100 burn children received 250 follow-up visits as part of their psychological treatment to address the issues of blame, guilt and forgiveness, resulting from traumatic burn experiences. While in-patients, each child and his/her parents received daily counseling as part of their emotional healing process.
- Since the opening of the Ruth Paz Hospital in October of 2011, the facility has performed 1,373 surgeries, and helped over 175 children in the burn unit alone.
Editor’s Note: Fire-related burns are a leading cause of death and disability among children in Honduras. 70 percent of burn victims in Central America are children. Unfortunately, hospitals and clinics suffer shortages of medical personnel specially trained in burn care. Consequently, burned children are typically admitted to the hospital for up to three months without sufficient pain medication or adequate changing of sterile dressings to promote healing. As a result, a burn scar may be swollen or deformed, or even contract the skin, making it difficult for the child to move a limb or appendage freely, hindering their future ability to perform work in order to earn a living. For more information, visit the Ruth Paz Foundation.