Surgery and samosas

In these hard times, who wouldn’t want to kill two costly birds with one stone, that is, get good medical care and a trip to the Taj Mahal in one go. With all America’s health care woes, the following idea seems to have plenty of merit.

The health insurer Wellpoint is testing a new program that gives covered patients the option of going to India for elective surgery, with no out-of-pocket medical costs and free travel for both the patient and a companion. (Full story here.)

A critic of the program says “Everyone is just waiting for the one horrible case to happen over there and then everyone will stop thinking this is such a great idea.”

Sour grapes? It’s not as if “horrible cases” haven’t happened in American hospitals before. It’s not enough that Indian doctors are ubiquitous in U.S. hospitals. Now they’re going back and taking patients with them.

One happy British medical tourist to India tells his story here. He’d go back there again.

A number of private hospitals also offer packages designed to attract wealthy foreign patients, with airport-to-hospital bed car service, in-room internet access and private chefs. Another trend is to combine surgery in India with a yoga holiday or trip to the Taj Mahal.

Just what the doctor ordered.

Mis-informed in India

From a Dutch study

Indian women giving up their children for adoption affected by lack of information
Single, pregnant women in Southern India who decide to give up their children for adoption, often make this decision because adoption is presented to them as the best and even the only option. Moreover, they often make this decision under the false assumption that they only arrange for childcare rather than completely giving up their children. Pien Bos received a PhD with distinction from Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands on 10 January 2008 for her research into the decision making process of these single mothers. She argues in favour of more information because there are alternatives.

Pien Bos, education specialist and anthropologist, worked in the field of adoption before she became a researcher in 2001. As part of her research she conducted two years of fieldwork talking to mothers, their families and welfare and social work organizations in India. Her supervisor and co-supervisor of this PhD are Prof. dr. J. Schrijvers and dr. F. Reysoo. This study has partly been funded by NWO-WOTRO Science for Global Development and the Academic Research and Documentation Centre of the Dutch Ministry of Justice, WODC.

Source: Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands 

Indian child trafficking

Some Australian parents are or will soon be living an adoptive parent’s worst nightmare: stolen children. Stolen, that is, from their families in India and sold to an orphanage before being placed internationally for adoption. According to the Time Magazine article:

For the unsuspecting Australian parents, the potential custody cases are a nightmare in waiting. But former Family Court Judge John Fogarty, who compiled a Victorian government report on inter-country adoptions, says the chances of the biological parents reclaiming their children are remote. “I wouldn’t like to be acting for the Indian parents,” he says. “You Continue reading

Tools for anti-racists

If advertising can change habits, can it help fight racism? I can imagine ads that show white women politely opening doors for asian women, white teenagers walking dogs for Chinese dog-owners, white children playing with a diverse group of Others, white men answering to a black boss, etc. These ads could go a long way to change perceptions. 

According to public health expert Val Curtis, on her campaign to increase hand-washing habits in Ghana:

“For a long time, the public health community was distrustful of industry, because many felt these companies were trying to sell products that made people’s lives less healthy, by encouraging them to smoke, or to eat unhealthy foods, or by selling expensive products people didn’t really need,” Curtis said. “But those tactics also allow us to save lives. If we want to really help the world, we need every tool we can get.”

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Not about cooks, food or food aid

During the Philippine president’s recent visit to Washington, Arroyo and Bush should have discussed a theme dear to Bush’s heart – the matter of children left behind. In this case it’s 20,000 to 50,000 fatherless Amerasian children and adults born of Filipino women and American servicemen from 1941 to 1993. These children along with Japanese Amerasian children are being discriminated against.

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Maybe I shock easily but I hope tomorrow won’t bring any more shocking news. The first thing that shocked me today is learning from sinoangle’s comment to a post of mine that in France you are allowed to legally abandon your baby by signing an X on the birth certificate. Quelles horreurs, quelle barbarie!

And then I learn about discrimination in the matter of drug offenses as reported by Harlow’s Monkey. Women who use crack (mostly black) are sentenced at rates as high as 100 times greater than women who use powder cocaine (mostly white). That’s my calculation considering there is a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years in prison for possession of 5 grams of crack versus 500 grams for powder cocaine. Add to that higher imprisonment rates for blacks in general.

Last but not least, I read this today about new Hague-compliant procedures in Guatemala adoptions:

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Some European perspectives on international adoption

On the question of domestic or international adoption, here’s a perspective from Europe.

The relationship between institutional care and the international adoption of children in Europe

This is a survey of 33 European countries which shows an association between international adoption and a high number of children in institutional care. Rather than reducing the number of children in institutions international adoption may contribute to the continuation of institutional care and hinder the development of children’s services nationally. This is true for both sending and receiving countries in Europe.

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