Friday, December 12, 2008

Health Care

Two stories on health care today:

1. Daschle to lead effort to overhaul health care (Robert Pear, International Herald Tribune, 12 Dec '08)

Will he be able to do any more than the reformers before him? Maybe if we support the efforts. Talk to your representatives. Let your local leaders know this is wanted by the populace.

2. Mugabe is a 'modern-day Hitler' (, 12 Dec '08)

That's quite a claim or accusation. Supportable? And at what point is it a truly failed state? Aren't we getting pretty close with 11.2 million percent inflation (CNN) and a cholera outbreak along with the previously crises?!

And why did I include an article about Mugabe under the heading "Health Care"? Compare these statements made in the same week (day?):

WHO: "The World Health Organization says the outbreak has not been contained and the death toll has increased to 792 people, reports the AFP news agency."

"The WHO has warned that the total number of cases could reach 60,000 unless the epidemic was stopped."

Mugabe: "'I am happy to say our doctors are being assisted by others and the WHO [World Health Organization] have now arrested cholera.'"


*PrairieGirl* said...

i find the situation with zimbabwe and the world baffling--it's been going on for a LONG time with mugabe, but no one seems too inclined to do anything. the african nations sort of turn a blind eye to all the devastation he's caused over the years. and western countries seem to hesitate to say or do anything??

lately i've been listening to the bbc world news in the evening and they cover this story (regarding the cholera outbreak) much more closely and in much more depth than american news does. it's too bad that american news can't break free from it's trance of telling us to SHOPSHOPSHOP or our economy will collapse around us.

sadly, dictators can sort of run amok in africa without the rest of the world paying much attention. and that other african leaders seem to allow it to happen?? i don't know enough about policies in african nations to understand this. i had a friend living in namibia and she said that none of the leaders around zimbabwe want to say anything. it's so strange.

i can't help but wonder, though...if there were oil involved, would the government or world have stepped by now?

***as an aside, yes, mugabe is a bad bad man...but the next hitler? i certainly hope not (and let's hope that someone, ANYONE, will put a stop to him before he gets to killing millions of people). people like to throw "hitler" around sort of loosely when referring to any horrible person or situation--let's keep in mind that hitler orchestrated the systematic genocide of over 6million jews (and millions of other "undesirables" such as romas, homosexuals, prisoners, the mentally ill, etc...). it bothers me when people are so cavalier with comparing anything to the holocaust.

thanks for the post, jeff.



Jeff said...

Yes, Africa seems to hold little economic or military interest for the U.S., so leaders let it burn. A part of me wants the administration to be honest and open about that, instead of foreign policy by silence.

And you make a good point about loosely using the label of "Hitler."

While conditions in Zimbabwe are deplorable, it does not appear to be systematic genocide like Hitler's Germany or other current devastation. It's a different kind of killing in Zimbabwe.

From Wikipedia:

"Life expectancy at birth for males in Zimbabwe has dramatically declined since 1990 from 60 to 37, among the lowest in the world. Life expectancy for females is even lower at 34 years.

"Concurrently, the infant mortality rate has climbed from 53 to 81 deaths per 1,000 live births in the same period. Currently, 1.8 million Zimbabweans live with HIV."

*PrairieGirl* said...

"It's a different kind of killing in Zimbabwe."

sadly, true.

i had a friend from zimbabwe, while in prague, who was attending medical school at charles university there. i kept in touch with him for awhile after he'd returned to zimbabwe as a doctor. he said the hardest part (this was about 6 or 7 years ago) about being a doctor in a country so burdoned with AIDS is that it takes resources away from basic meidcal care. people still get diseases and have other medical problems, need even basic preventive care (neonatal, etc...) just like anywhere, but the resources for those are diminished because of the burdon of AIDS. he worked for awhile running a "pre-school" of sorts, where he could teach the little ones basic hygeine and nutrition, and give them one meal a day. his outreach was robbed and last i knew he'd finally left the country. i'm sure that the country is suffering from brain-drain, as well...furthering the problems it already has.

the crazy thing about zimbabwe, is it was a model during the bloody end of apartheid in other nations. it was a model of black and white africans working was one of the wealthier nations in africa. and then, mugabe just destroyed it.

the only way mugabe will become the next hitler, is if other nations allow him to be. and anything's possible?