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Gender: Female
Hometown: Saskatchewan
Home country: Canada
Member since: Sat Jul 9, 2005, 11:46 PM
Number of posts: 11,688

Journal Archives

India’s Superhospitals And Superbugs

By Sonia Shah

Source: Le Monde Diplomatique

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Through the later 20th century, patients from developing countries came to western hospitals seeking high-tech medical care unavailable at home. That flow has started to reverse. With costs in countries such as the US increasing sharply, and waiting times in Europe getting longer, patients from the West now go to developing countries for cheap, quick medical care no longer accessible at home, in a booming medical tourism industry valued at $60bn worldwide. This year, reports the Deloitte Centre for Health Solutions, over 1.6 million Americans will go on “scalpel safaris” to lower costs and avoid queues.

Advocates of medical tourism claim that Indian surgeries should be seen as a boon for ailing western healthcare systems, a kind of medical outsourcing, equivalent to the call centres that have allowed western companies to cut service costs by 40% or more (2). Western insurance companies such as Blue Cross Blue Shield and Aetna seem to agree. Both have quietly added hospitals in India and in the developing world to their lists of covered providers (3).

‘We should set our own house in order’

But questions on the ethics of providing sophisticated medical care for foreigners while many ordinary Indians lack access to basic health services go unanswered (4). “We should set our own house in order rather than cater to foreigners,” said New Delhi surgeon Samiran Nundy, a prominent critic of the privatisation of healthcare in India. India spends around 1% of its GDP on public health, one of the lowest rates in the world. Fewer than half of India’s children are fully immunised, and a million Indians die every year from treatable tuberculosis and preventable diarrhoeas. Medical expenses drive nearly 40 million Indians into poverty every year (5).

Drug-resistant bacteria are a global problem, with bugs such as MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus) plaguing western hospitals. But medical tourism, poverty and government policy in India make the spread of NDM-1 worrying. The first NDM-1 infection was spotted in 2008 in a Swedish patient who had recently been hospitalised in India. In 2009 the UK national health service issued a warning that patients in the UK who had been hospitalised in India and Pakistan had NDM-1 infections. In 2010 three cases of NDM-1 infection were discovered in the US. All three patients had received medical treatment in India (8). Since then, NDM-1 infections have been discovered in 35 countries, in many cases tied to medical tourism to India. There is also evidence that NDM-1 bacteria have started to spread more widely, infecting people with no history of travel to South Asia.

Full Article: http://www.zcommunications.org/india-s-superhospitals-and-superbugs-by-sonia-shah

Addressing global warming: Earth’s New Year’s resolution


WEDNESDAY, DEC 26, 2012 08:33 AM CCST

Think of 2013 as the Year Zero in the battle over climate change, one in which we are going to have to win big, or lose bigger. This is a terrible thing to say, but not as terrible as the reality that you can see in footage of glaciers vanishing, images of the entire surface of the Greenland Ice Shield melting this summer, maps of Europe’s future in which just being in southern Europe when the heat hits will be catastrophic, let alone in more equatorial realms.

For millions of years, this world has been a great gift to nearly everything living on it, a planet whose atmosphere, temperature, air, water, seasons, and weather were precisely calibrated to allow us — the big us, including forests and oceans, species large and small — to flourish. (Or rather, it was we who were calibrated to its generous, even bounteous, terms.) And that gift is now being destroyed for the benefit of a few members of a single species.

Its victories also capture what a lot of our greenest gifts look like: nothing. The regions that weren’t fracked, the coal plants that didn’t open, the mountaintops that weren’t blasted by mining corporations, the children who didn’t get asthma or mercury poisoning from coal emissions, the carbon that stayed in the Earth and never made it into the atmosphere. The Keystone XL tar sands pipeline bringing the dirtiest of dirty energy from Canada to the Gulf Coast might have already opened without the activists who ringed the White House and committed themselves across the continent.

In eastern Texas, for instance, extraordinary acts of civil disobedience have been going on continuously since August, including three blockaders who this month crawled inside a length of the three-foot-in-diameter pipeline and refused to leave. People have been using their bodies, getting in the way of heavy equipment, and going to jail in an effort to prevent the pipeline from being built. A lot of them are the same kind of robust young people who kept the Occupy encampments going earlier in 2012, but great-grandmothers, old men, and middle-aged people like me have been crucial players, too.

Full Article: http://www.salon.com/2012/12/26/addressing_global_warming_earths_new_years_resolution/

Criminal Injustice: Idle No More, The Prison System And Indigenous People In Canada

By Matt Moir

Source: rabble.ca
Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Idle No More is forcing many Canadians to be Willfully Blind No More.

Ostensibly, the movement spearheaded by Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence is about the protection of First Nations' treaty rights. At its core, though, might be something more profound, perhaps best described as a demand for all of us in this country to re-think the relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians. The relationship is, of course, an uneven one, though it might be far more uneven than most of us in this country care to acknowledge.

Against this backdrop, policy makers and average Canadians alike would be well advised to ring in the New Year by considering the lessons Michelle Alexander highlights in her important book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindedness. The context is American, but the lessons may hit closer to home. In the book, Alexander writes the following in regards to African-Americans and the United States' criminal justice system:

"It is fair to say that we have witnessed an evolution in the United States from a racial caste system based entirely on exploitation (slavery), to one based largely on subordination (Jim Crow), to one defined by marginalization (mass incarceration). While marginalization may sound far preferable to exploitation, it may prove to be even more dangerous. Extreme marginalization, as we have seen throughout world history, poses the risk of extermination."

Full Article: http://www.zcommunications.org/criminal-injustice-idle-no-more-the-prison-system-and-indigenous-people-in-canada-by-matt-moir

Idle No More

By Winona LaDuke

Source: LA Progressive
Wednesday, January 02, 2013

As Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence enters her fourth week on a hunger strike outside the Canadian parliament, thousands of protesters in Los Angeles, London, Minneapolis and New York City voice their support. Spence and the protesters of the Idle No More Movement are drawing attention to deplorable conditions in Native communities and recently passed legislation C-45, which sidesteps most Canadian environmental laws.

“Flash mob” protests with traditional dancing and drumming have erupted in dozens of shopping malls across North America, marches and highway blockades by aboriginal groups from across Canada and their supporters have emerged from as far away as New Zealand and the Middle East.

This weekend, hundreds of Native people and their supporters held a flash mob round dance with hand drum singing at the Mall of America near Minneapolis, again as a part of the Idle No More protest movement. This quickly emerging wave of Native activism on environmental and human rights issues has spread like a wildfire across the continent.

“Idle No More” is Canadian for, “That’s Enough BS, We’re Coming Out to Stop You” – or something like that. Spence is the leader of Attawapiskat First Nation — a remote Cree community from James Bay, Ontario. The community’s on-reserve 1,549 residents (a third of whom are under 19) have weathered quite a bit: the fur trade, residential schools, a status as non-treaty Indians, and limited access to modern conveniences — like toilets, or maybe electricity. Conditions like these are all too commonplace in the north, but they have become exacerbated in the past five years with the advent of a huge diamond mine.

Full Article: http://www.zcommunications.org/idle-no-more-by-winona-laduke

Sick, Sick Cambodian Stories

By Andre Vltchek

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Do you know how one can turn a little child; say 5 or 6 years old, into the most productive beggar? I did not know, but I was told by a mother who was pimping her own girls at night, while forcing them to beg during the day:

“Make sure that the kids are suffering from malnutrition, that their bellies are swollen, hair unnaturally light-colored, and tears rolling down their cheeks. And when the children begin bringing home loads of money, prevent them from recovering. Whenever in doubt, there is UNICEF in Phnom Penh, as well as many NGO’s: they will coach you on how to prevent your children from malnutrition; so do exactly the opposite and you will never be poor.”

Thai Airways is on time. As it rolls down the runway, I repeat as I have so many times before: “never again… I don’t ever want to come back to this country”.

But I know I will. I cannot resist Cambodian stories, as most Malaysians can’t resist love songs and horror movies.

Full article: http://www.zcommunications.org/sick-sick-cambodian-stories-by-andre-vltchek
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