Monday, 19 September 2011

That was the week that was

Two weeks ago, when littlest one was due his MMR vaccination, I thought a lot about the Pass It On campaign that Christine Mosler from Thinly Spread wrote a lot about and worked very hard to publicise. I thought a lot about how lucky I was that both my boys had free access to life-saving vaccines.

Even 10 days later, when littlest one spiked a fever in reaction to his vaccinations (or so I thought), I just kept thinking, “well, at least he’s had the vaccines…at least he’s immune to some really awful childhood diseases”. Unlike thousands of children in Africa.

But then it all became a lot more frightening. On Wedsnesday littlest one developed the characteristic non-blanching rash of meningitis.

Within 20 minutes of googling meningitis symptoms I was at my local GP surgery with littlest one being examines by one of the 8 lovely GPs in our practice, 5 minutes later an ambulance was called and littlest one was given a hefty shot of antibiotics in his thigh by 1 of the 2 practice nurses. Not 1, not 2, but 3 paramedics arrived to assess littlest one and whisk us to hospital 3 miles away.

On arrival at A&E we were taken straight through to the senior paediatric on-call registrar who swiftly assessed littlest one and reassured us that thankfully, meningitis could be ruled out. We then spent a further 48 hours receiving expert care, with highly skilled people carrying out a whole battery of tests on our behalf, and all for free. 4 different registrars, 2 senior house officers and numerous nurses and healthcare assistants looked after us over those 48 hours. At a rough estimate, about 16 healthcare professionals helped us over the course of 3 days.

We were lucky, littlest one didn't have meningitis. But even if he had, the vigilance and knowledge of those 16 healthcare professionals would have meant that our beautiful, smiley boy would not have died. Some children are not so lucky. Some children have to walk days to reach just 1 health worker.

No child should die because they are unable to get help from a health worker, but because of a global shortage of 3.5 million doctors, nurses, midwives and community health workers, every year millions do. Half of the 8 million children who die each year are in Africa, yet Africa has only 3% of the world’s doctors, nurses and midwives.

I am so thankful that we have access to such talented healthcare workers practically on our doorstep. Tonight, I am both grateful and humbled and holding my babies tightly.

Thank you Chris for helping remind me just how lucky I am.

On Tuesday, Chris will attend the UN General Assembly in New York. She is going there with Liz Scarff on behalf of Save the Children to pressure David Cameron to play his full part in solving the health worker crisis.  There is a target of 60,000 signatures on the petition by Tuesday.

Please sign the petition here to end the health worker crisis.

To help spread the word @helloitsgemma and @michelletwinmum want to get 100 bloggers linked up before Tuesday. Pop over to @michelletwinmum for more information and to see how you can help the #Healthworkers campaign.


  1. Oh gosh how scary!! I'm so glad little one was okay. Thank goodness he was taken care of so well xx

  2. thank you for sharing, illustrates perfectly how lucky we are. Imagine dealing with that and living hours if not days from a clinic - doesn't bare thinking about.
    thanks for taking part X

  3. Oh goodness you had a scare! Thank you so much for sharing your story and for helping to shout loudly in NYC xxx


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