I find these reports so alarming. I guess everyone saw Sicko. So maybe I shouldn't be surprised.
But when I was in the hills of El Salvador, I remember seeing a number of pregnant women. Where do they deliver their babies? I asked. How do they get prenatal care?
They have midwives, Suzanne said. No doctors. She had spent a few days translating for doctors (who came in from the US to volunteer for a week) and said many of the women hadn't seen a doctor in their entire lives. There were so many women lined up with an entire life history of medical questions for her to ask-- and then translate back the answers. By the end of the day the doctors were angry and tired and wanted to know why there weren't better facilities. As if somehow it was too much for them: the heat, the lack of running water, the needs of these women . . .
I asked a doctor in Cleveland how these women did it. What risks they ran. He speculated that they probably have a high infant mortality rate. That some of the moms died in childbirth.
I was stunned when I heard Michael Moore say in his film that the US has a higher infant mortality rate than El Salvador.