“Let us touch the dying, the poor, the lonely and the unwanted according to the graces we have received, and let us not be ashamed or slow to do the humble work.” Mother Teresa’s words seem to hold true in the case of Dr. Jonas del Rosario and the CHILD Foundation: world-class doctors from the esteemed University of the Philippines College of Medicine, who could be devoting all their precious time and top talent to treat the rich and powerful but instead choose to touch the lives—and the hearts—of underprivileged children.
“The feeling that you get once you have treated the kids and you see them up and about—the smiles, the tears from their eyes, wala na eh. It’s all tears of joy, it’s very fulfilling. It’s something money cannot buy.” Such is the testament of Doc Jonas, a 1991 UP Med graduate whose specialty, Interventional Pediatric Cardiology, led him to joining the CHILD (Child Health in Life and Development) Foundation in saving the lives of children with congenital heart defects under the Pediatrics Department of the Philippine General Hospital. Being doctors of interventional paediatrics is no easy feat, but moreso in the country’s national tertiary referral center and teaching hospital, and in a department which saw an estimated 30,000 patients just from the year 2010. From its inception in 1988, CHILD has since then sought to augment the much-needed resources of its numerous indigent patients through various efforts and donations by corporations and generous individuals. Among these donors are Nu Skin Philippines through its Force For Good Foundation, politicians, and UP graduates who want to give back to their alma mater. Thankful as they are for all the support they have been given, the members of CHILD still need all the help they can get because there’s still so much to do, as Doc Jonas explains the state of the children under their care.
Pediatric-cardiology in the Philippines
Says Doc Jonas, “There are a lot of children who get these congenital heart diseases. Actually, one in a hundred children is born with a congenital heart defect. But the good thing is that procedures done in first world countries, we are able to do it here, like transcatheter treatments, which is state-of-the-art, a very new procedure, it’s available here. It’s just having to get funding to be able to have these children operated”. Even with the doctor’s fees waived—a practice that the CHILD members always happily oblige to—fixing a hole in the heart could still reach up to half a million pesos, a cost that isn’t very easy on the pocket, especially since most of the patients who seek treatment in PGH are from the lower socio-economic brackets. The parents of the kids under their wing range from average and minimum wage earners to those without any stable income at all. Due to their financial constraints, some of these parents get so depressed, asking why their child was inflicted with a disease “for the rich”. The doctor shares that sometimes, in a state of helplessness, the parents choose to just bring their kids home and say “bahala na Diyos” (I’ll leave it up to God), leaving the child untreated with such a life-threatening disease. Others, however, exhaust all possible means to raise the remainder of the cost, once they find out that there are donors willing to contribute financially to make the operation possible.
It is in this light that Doctor Jonas, in behalf of the CHILD Foundation of UP-PGH, appeals to all the kind hearts who wish to support their cause through any means possible. “We have a lot more children with congenital heart defects. It’s a long list, but we can do a lot for these kids. We have the know-how, we have the technology, we have willing doctors who will help these kids, and what I’m asking for is to get more funding, more help, so that we can augment what we already have..”. He adds, “CHILD Foundation is a foundation which is inside the PGH, in the department of Pediatrics, so I assure the people who might be reading this article that this is a legitimate foundation. All they have to do is to get in touch with the department and either donate in cash or in kind, and I assure that whatever they give out of their hearts will not go to waste because there are really a lot of kids who need help.”
Support the CHILD Foundation in their mission to give underprivileged children a second chance at life. A little help will go a long way. To get in touch with the foundation, call 585-0351 / 0917-8044453 or email CHILD at email@example.com.