Monday, October 29, 2012

Global Healthcare


It's election year here in the US, and the Affordable Healthcare act is one of the key platforms that the cadidates argue about. Now this act isn't about research, or improving treatments; it's about health insurance. Don't get me wrong, it's very important to have health insurance so that health care can be affordable and so that everyone has access to preventative and long term care, not just emergency care.
Today, 26 years after Chernobyl, the nuclear disaster is still taking it's toll. The area around the site is still off limits due to high radiation, but the fallout in a large area around the zone of exclusion is still affecting new births. The rate of heart defects alone in babies is 8 times the normal level. Birth defects, including limb deformities, cerebal palsy, epilepsy and cognitive defects and delays are at extremely high levels. In Belarus, many of these children end up in orphanages, and later in adult asylums, simply due to the high financial burden of raising such a child. These asylums, health facilities and orphanages are poorly funded and use medical technology and techniques never seen in the developed world because they are so old and inhumane.
In this documentary, filmakers split between Belarus and Ireland, where an international foundation works to improve the lives of these children through surguries and treatment in Ireland, plus volunteers to travel to Belarus. Here, in part 2, they show how tonsillectomies are performed on consious children without anisthetic http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XUQQ10t7Cek&feature=relmfu .
This type of care, seen as inhumane and ancient in many first world countries, is commonplace in poorer countries. Our healthcare system may have some difficulties, but it is nothing compared to these countries, where children die from lack of a simple operation, or have them performed without anisthetic. Remember your blessings.

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