To The Daily Sun,
I have Medicare, EBPA (the University system) and even a "fallback" medical insurance... and cringe when using them, knowing there are too many in New Hampshire with no coverage and who cannot even take a child in for check-ups or care. How can we be so selfish! And I began to think about some of what I've seen in the world:
In a remote African village one day, I came upon a health clinic, a small mud-hut, solid, immaculate, in spite of sand and soil blowing everywhere. There was a nurse attendant, but not an aspirin, a bandage, swabs or tongue depressors. The shelves were bare. Can you imagine the frustration of the young woman over what kind of medicine could she dispense! Clean old rags were wrapped around wounds, patients had to be brought overland to another village to have a bleeding wound stitched or to splint a broken extremity, and the really sick?... they just lie on a fresh bed of sorghum stocks....
In another village, a more hopeful occasion! I noticed a bit of a flurry among a few women looking way out, far across the desert and on the horizon was what looked to me like a small dust cloud forming, but they knew better, and called out, ululating (a trill), something to the other women and that message went throughout the village. The women, all with at least one or more children, scrambled from all directions to one place on the edge of the village and all had something tucked under an arm. I followed along. Here was a mud house, another clinic, in front of which these formerly wildly crazy and energetic ladies were lining up in absolute order, quietly with infants in arms, on backs, and some little ones clinging to their mom's boubous (traditional dress). And then I saw that that "something" they were carrying was a plastic bag containing a folder ... and while many of the women were in rags and tatters, that plastic bag and folder looked like they were brand new, but in fact, some of them were a few years old. By this time, I saw a few land rovers dashing across the desert towards us and as they came closer they slowed, keeping the sandstorm to a minimum and headed right to the clinic. And what was it? A contingent from Doctors without Borders. The women let out a loud greeting and the docs leapt out of their vehicles and without a moment's delay were set up to weigh each infant in a suspended scale, fitted with a diaper-like leather seat in which the child was placed. And next was a physical exam of the child from head to toe, and then inoculations. There was little noise, hardly a voice, perhaps an occasional infant might have given a startled outcry, but the older ones knew the routine and just waited their turn in line. In the plastic bag was the medical chart for each family's children which were consulted, considered and notations made of care given, or recommended and returned to the mom. I can't tell you how many they looked at but perhaps as many as 100, yet there was time for each child and mother, a kind word, a smile, some advice; all reassurance to those living in that outback village, in the middle of an ocean of sand, who knew that one day, they would see these visitors again, they were not forgotten, someone really cared.
I think of New Hampshire's 58,000 people without medical care and ask, why?