Our Mothers Once Again: Not just about the Shoulder Extra Credit

Living in Los Angeles, and having the opportunity to cross paths some high end people, I have had the opportunity to delve into conversations which have led me to question if living the high life results in some pretty extravagant and shallow notions. One, which is a conversation on a constant basis, for LA plastic moms and even college girls, is breastfeeding. While we have a certain amount of women that are religiously devoted to the ritual, other have brought the notions that breastfeeding is not for them because of specific conversations, predominately that it will ruin their body. Which led to my question, can we apply the notions of pro-choice to breastfeeding children?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) deemed breastfeeding a “public health issue and not only a lifestyle choice.” Such recognize presents this strong perspective in regarding the body modifying ritual. Researchers have found that breast-fed babies have a decreased risk of dying of SIDS, fewer ear infections, less likelihood of obesity or cardiovascular disease and fewer hospitalizations for pneumonia. As for mothers, they decreased risk of  breast, ovarian and uterine cancers. There are so many aspects of breast-feeding that are beneficial for both parties alike. As much as this perspective is great for the American community, what happens in the third world countries? In those areas, we are looking at a greater picture where the problem  is not in providing the early nutrients, but rather having mothers who can provide those nutrients. In drastic situations like those in third generations, not even mothers can provide breast milk. If it is so important to our world, imagine how essential it is in another world.

Political Birth Control- Extra Credit

As the 2012 elections are coming underway, politicians our out seeking their representatives. While this class is centered on the global health, one of the key issues that is being shown throughout the elections have been the wealth gap within the candidates and the general population of Americans. Mitt Romney constantly evokes his wealth while trying to promote the well being of all Americans. However, besides this constant gap, the vulnerability of some Americans is coming to light. While this is a political battle, where constant questions of Puerto Rican statehood are being brought, energy conservation and fuel struggle is a conversation, the Republican candidates seem to bring into their campaigns religious attitudes and with religion, sexuality seems to then come into the conversation. Birth control and abortion is becoming a heating topic and the irony of it all is the conversation is among men. I pose this question, what do THEY know about my body, and about my struggle as a woman in a world that seeks to promote equality for men and women, yet we are still eroticized and forced to fall on this domestic sphere of raising children and becoming a wife.

In the news, I have seen so much anti birth control propaganda and laws coming into light. In Texas, Governor Rick Perry decided to cut off all Medicaid funding for family planning to the state of Texas. Because of such law Texas lost the entire Medicaid program which provides cancer screenings, contraceptives and basic health care to 130, 0000 low income women. The federal government provides 90 percent of the government and almost half of the providers are Planned Parenthood clinics. The reason Rick Perry enacted these laws: because Planned Parenthood was providing abortions, however the funny thing out of the whole situation is that the federal and state governments do not pay for abortions. Medicaid does not pay for abortions! Thus, families throughout Texas, who are low income will no longer be receiving health care for women. What does this mean? This stop in health care for women from the government will lead to a questioning on the health of those  children born in low-income communities. By removing institutions such as Planned Parenthood we are removing communities from what little access they had in developing a healthy family. All for the fear of the practice of abortion which consists of only 3 percent of the services provided in such organizations.

 

Stepping out of the Anthropological Lens for Social Justice

One of the most impacting statements throughout Paul Farmer’s analysis of Public Health,  is his critique on the power that anthropology has in disassociating the needs because of local ideology or long standing tradition. It is by far the first time I have seen this statement really become known especially in the case that Paul Farmer is presenting. Such an idea makes it a staple and necessary when discussing the pursuit of Human Rights and the application of doctrine which is necessary for the creation of social justice. Where do we draw the line, when can we provide this intervention and how can we determine when the ideological state and culture needs to be surpassed in order to provide Westernized support to these people.

One of the major concerns throughout the conversation of implementation of Westernized situations being placed in third world settings has been a conversation within the classroom setting. I would like to specifically revisit the conversation on Plumpy’ Nut. This is one of the initiatives that provides an alternative form of feeding these communities that for centuries were basing their nutrition on their crops and agriculture. More and more we see programs mainly from the Western world (Plumpy Nut is from Virginia), that are being incorporated to eradicate third world problems. However, while most saw this as such an ideal aspect in providing a source of nutrition for these children, I saw this as a problem. I question Paul Farmer, when it comes to choosing when we should move away from the anthropological lens, because situations such as Plumpy Nut may be hurting a community more than they are helping.  We can provide the health rights to food access, but are we doing anything when food production is not being taught to the people, must there always be doctors from throughout the world in order for malnourished communities to get the food they need?

Neglect of Social and Economic Rights

Paul Farmer provides a compelling argument in his analysis of current efforts to pursue human rights through a legal framework. While civil rights are of vast importance, it is easy to neglect basic social and economic rights. He talks about Haiti and the abandonment of basic entitlements, such as food, medical care, and education while other human rights violations were being committed. “And although human rights groups were among those credited with helping to restore constitutional rule in Haiti, this was accomplished, to a large extent, by sacrificing the struggle for social and economic rights” (Farmer, 222). Its unfortunate that basic rights such as food and medical care can be sacrificed, implying that all human rights are not actually indivisible.

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(Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at NYU)

Farmer also provides another example—the “dirty war” in Argentina during 1976-1983, a source of major violence and violations of human rights. This website talks about the series of events in more detail, but essentially the government was responsible for the disappearance of suspected dissidents and subversives. The article talks about the restoration of basic civil liberties after the military regime in 1982, yet I find it interesting that the article fails to mention anything about the restoration of social or economic rights…

A Better Life consists of Leaving

In The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, one of the general struggles that is presented come from the two worlds of color colliding and creating clashes among the relationships. While being a minority can bring hardships, having the birth defects of something like hydrocephalus bring in more stigma to the character. Additionally, we can see the hardships that come from living in a reservation stem from poverty. Arnold’s sister runs away, his parents are or have been alcoholics and the education provided is mediocre. Meanwhile 22 miles down the road, there exists a “white school,” where students are getting the best education and are not in the midst of struggle like in the reservation. Places such as reservations have some benefits yet at the same time they are laced with the injustices and cause them to be centers of poverty.

The forgotten nooks and crannies of American are left to fend for their own. We have communities throughout the country left to live through their poverty and fear, not just reservations. Our communities just in LA alone are tainted with poverty and crime. A simple conversation with a South Los Angeles friend constantly speaks about his angst towards the LAPD, their efforts to protect are provided in the hard hit crime areas. While in West Los Angeles a simple noise complaint will have the police at your door in three minutes, a drunken teenager firing his gun to a crowd in South LA will have police showing up 20 minutes after, if they are lucky.  One of the intricate aspects of the novel and reality is that the turning point, and the end of the cycle of poverty was in having Arnold go to the rich white school. While these “plagued” cities and communities continue to foster the notions of crime, gang life, or alcoholism we also have the cases where families are sending their children away to what they consider will be a turn for a better life. “You can’t give up. You won’t give up. You threw that book in my face because somewhere inside, you refuse to give up.” Once a community refuses to give up, there is a chance for something greater even if in the community there exists only one individual ready to change the pace for his life.

 

 

Since when do men have a say in Birth Control?

The Feldman-Savelsberg article highlights the politics of the womb and control over reproductive rights of women in Cameroon. The government was seeking to provide neonatal tetanus shots to school girls, however they all tried to run away thinking that they would sterilize their abilities to have children. Throughout the medical history of Cameroon, there have been various incidents where there is a constant fear of being sterilized by the government; however they have not been proven.  Additionally political turmoil has led for the people to be in constant fear and anxiety which leads to more of a reason to not accept the medication of the problematic government.  It is also interesting to note that the effects of such a rumor has not allowed the people in Cameroon to take advantage of health vaccines necessary such as the tetanus which would help prevent neonatal deaths. Additionally, mothers are having their children at an earlier age, for fear of being sterilized, this limiting their access to education.

It is interesting that the conversation regarding the trauma of the control of reproductive health entails on a woman, especially with the constant clashing on the ideas of Birth Control in the United States. Presidential candidates and media players like Rush Limbaugh are continuously criticizing the act of taking Birth Control. This fight has caused many low-income women and teenagers throughout the US losing access to birth control because it is no longer affordable. Birth control for these women is necessary in considering their backgrounds and the likelihood of getting pregnant. Men in the political world are trying to control women’s abilities to have control over their own reproductive health, with one man state that “it is [birth control] not okay, it’s a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.”  Why should lawmakers have control over our decisions and sexual lives? Why is this a problem when our world is overpopulating and women and men are now out in the workforce together. In a sense we are living in a Cameroon like state, there is a constant fear that our rights as women in control of our own bodies will eventually diminish from our control.

 

The Bigger Picture of Health

We can clearly see that this week’s reading connects to the greater notion that health is connected to our social and political lives.  As much as biomedicine focuses on treating the individual, there are greater notions in health than putting a band aid on a person for the time being. We have so many problems throughout the world that arise not by one single factor but rather multiple, and in order to find a solution, such additional aspects of the problem should be addressed. Additionally when can see political clashes such as war affect the way in which health and sanitation is provided.

We can see the problems of past societies in the effects of war in their situtiatons however we also can see the effects of war on people during the Iraq war. American forgets that there are civilians who have nothing to do with the conflict, and they are paying the costs of threats and massacres in their communities. This conflict in Iraq like any war restricts people’s personal security causing the restricting and access to food because of the fear of leaving their homes. Such a fear will lead starvation, others do not have access to medicine and medical supplies leading to inadequacy of proper medical treatments. Once a person is restricted from movement, you are hindering their abilities to fulfill their primary needs of health. Additional war causes extreme trauma and suffering if electricity is cut, then hospitals cannot function, shelter is damaged and mortality rates begin to increase. Once the war begins to causes water issues whether being inadequate access or contamination, you are experiencing a rise in cholera, typhoid and dysentery. The belief that by engaging in war there is a protection of the greater world is creating such aftermaths as those presented by the World Heath Organization. There is a bigger picture in treatment and eradicating disease, and we should start considering the community and regional problems to fully understand origins of disease and methods of eradication. 

The Integration of the Natural and Social World Lead to Public Health Concerns

As I was reading the chapter “Can the Mosquito Speak?” in Timothy Mitchell’s book, I realized the recurring concepts that were discussed in many of the previous readings throughout Professor Smith’s class. The same ideas are brought into light through the introduction of a new region not focused on before during the course–Egypt. “Dams, blood-borne parasites, synthetic chemicals, mechanized war, and man-made famine coincided and interacted”, which created powerful transformations affecting Egypt as it was heading towards modernity. As the powerful and wealthy took advantage of what they could benefit from, the underprivileged where often left without sufficient access to water and livestock to make a decent living. By being robbed of their basic needs, most Egyptians were more prone to suffering from the disease that “moved with the changing movements of people”. What made matters worse was that the river and dams allowed for the rapid spread of malaria across the surface of water, which helps them breed in high numbers. The mosquito was a public health problem that was for the most part heard by deaf until towards the end of the epidemic. Globalization has led to the interconnectedness of the world and surely the increasing rate of disease, as shown in Egypt. The spread of disease epidemics occurs due to many other underlying factors.

Both nature and society affected much of what was occurring during the modern era. War was not the cause of all the chaos, but it did play a role in how the events were played out. This article particularly mentions the link between violent wars and disease epidemics. As the field of research continues, time and time again it is proven that disease continues to be inextricably linked to war. Today we can prevent many diseases and reduce the rates of poverty and conflict which propel diseases to spread, but it takes time. Overall, the goal of public health advocates is to improve the well-being of the world’s population.

Euthanasia? What is Right?

Paul Farmer, brings up very interesting points in this analysis of what human rights are in the medical field and if all people have the actual right to receive the same treatment as others, specifically focusing on the socioeconomic positioning of people. I also find it interesting that Paul Farmer specifically focuses on how when we are protecting human rights, we are protecting those who are most likely to have them violated, thus showing that the fight is for the constant need for equality. Such a continued fight indicates, at least to me, that as much as we can have a document professing, “all men are created equal,” we as social beings are not on the same page as documents.  Thomas Hobbes’s ideas of man, in terms of this greed driven human are in sense aspects of why ethnical dilemmas in areas such as medicine are so profound; mankind seeks the greed the glory and along the way dehumanizes groups in order to achieve those goals.

Access to human health care is a right, who is considered to have that right? Is one of the questions Paul Farmer has throughout this passage. To move away from human health care and more into the individual, can humans have control over their own bodies? One of the major bioethical problems causing up a storm in the world are the push for euthanasia for hospital patients in their quest to find peace within in their illness.  Euthanasia is the notion of ending life in order to relieve pain and suffering. Much of the controversy with this debate comes from physicians and scholars, some who state that Euthanasia allows a patient to be in control of ones life, while some state that such a freedom will distort the image of a physician as a healer. We can see trauma in both sides, while the patient is enduring their last days in death the family watches and endures the pain of watching the loved one slowly die. Meanwhile it is also traumatic to go about in saying goodbye and the factor of who control such a thing when the person is a vegetable? Ethics allows us to see both perspectives, and disallows us to make full judgment to the medical situation especially if it involves deaths. In such a case, decisions for Euthanasia, will eventually hurt one person whether it is the family because of the death of the patient, or the patient and their constant suffering.

Genocide at Large

The article presents the power of how struggles in countries that are not completely in the public eye can be depicted through narratives in forms of documentaries and even fictional movies. The article places much of its emphasis on the success of Hotel Rwanda in the ways in which the gripping tale allowed for people to become aware of the situation in the Congo. These forms of narratives are a self-expression to people who may not feel there is an outlet. Additionally, by providing images to human anguish, those who are not within that situation are more capable of empathizing with those in this country and maybe become inspired in providing the aid.  This power to provide narratives is a step towards social change, and something, which will allow the Congo community to be empowered and allow for the world to know and understand their struggle.

In applying my own personal experience to the article, my knowledge of Rwanda and the violence between the Hutu and Tutsi was based on the movie Hotel Rwanda. Before watching the film I had no idea there was such Genocide going on throughout the world. In America we are so accustomed to national news and to what media coverage is, “sexy,” that we forget there are conflicts throughout the world, or we do not get the knowledge of the world around us. The moment you read this passage, someone is fleeing from their home because of racial injustice, radical governments and terrorist. Current conflict areas are Sudan, Libya, Burma and Congo. While we mind our business in the states worry about Adele’s mighty 6 GRAMMY’s (mighty amazing), people are dying for the color of their skin. These people are not being provided food nor medicine, all for the purpose of eradicating the Nuba culture known as “ethnic cleansing.” Much of the Genocide that occurs throughout the world is driven by the notion of ethnocentricity of race, and which such notions are being the force of violence and trauma on people, the first world countries are taking no action, and its citizen are not obtaining the knowledge unless they seek to find it. Thus, we are blinded by our inabilities to seek knowledge from not just our own world, and thus like the article this week, narratives for a world without the important events being addressed are necessary in order to open people’s eyes.