There are a lot of things that don’t make sense (Purple elephants. Gaucho pants. Pea soup.) But one thing that really doesn’t make sense is that millions of people in the world don’t have access to healthcare.
Our world has so many resources and great amounts of wealth, so why are there still 400 million people who lack access to essential health resources?
When girls overseas don’t have access to healthcare, preventable deaths happen often. For example, over one million girls will die from diarrhea this year - a disease that is often preventable. Thousands more will die from cervical cancer, another preventable disease if they had access to a series of HPV vaccines. And over 300,000 women and teens die in childbirth each year of largely preventable causes. Poor, minority women are at the highest risk around the globe. It feels unfair.
Let's dig in a little deeper with this month's video.
Think and Talk About
- What happens when you get sick or injured? Do you go to the local pharmacy to purchase over-the-counter medicine? Are you able to see a doctor? How long would it take for you to access safe, reliable care? How do you think this differs from the experiences of girls in developing countries?
- About 13 million adolescent girls (under 20) give birth every year. Complications from those pregnancies and childbirth are a leading cause of death for those young mothers (World Health Organization). What would it mean to you if you were one of those girls, unable to receive prenatal care as a young mom?
- Depression is the most common mental health problem for women and suicide is a leading cause of death for women under 60 (WHO). How can we better combat the stigma surrounding mental health and bring mental health services to these women? Is this also a problem where you live?
- Today, one in three women under 50 has experienced physical and/or sexual violence by a partner, or non-partner sexual violence – violence which affects their physical and mental health in the short and long-term (WHO). Is this a problem in your area? How can we combat this issue at home and abroad?
Get the Word Out. What have you learned today? Spread the word by creating a poster, writing a letter to the editor, or contacting your local representatives. Tell the world how important girl’s health is at home and abroad!
Get Prepared! Around the world people need basic life-saving care. Are you familiar with CPR? Abdominal thrusts? Basic first-aid? Look into taking a course or arrange to host one with your troop. You never know when you may need these skills to save a life!
Problem Solve. How can you ensure that sustainable, locally-based healthcare is accessible to all women and girls around the world? Many of the solutions to today’s problems lie in you and your peers, so start brainstorming! What are your ideas? Do we first fix roads? Lower drug prices? Train more local doctors? Wither in a group or on your own, make a list of ideas. Then, pick one and write out the necessary steps to make this solution a reality.
- Go Deeper. Research health outcomes and healthcare accessibility in different countries. Look into times where the Western world intervened in public health. What worked? What didn’t? What’s working? What’s not? What can we do better? Journal what you find.
What can YOU do today to make a difference? The answers to many challenges lie in you and girls around the world. What can you do to link arms with girls around you and girls around the world to make life a bit better? Give a presentation to your class? Start a conversation on social media? Host a fundraiser? Whether you do something big or small, YOU can make a difference.
Learn Even More
Video: Healthy Women, Healthy World: CARE Maternal Health Programs in sub-Saharan Africa
Books: Mountains Beyond Mountains (Adapted for Young People): The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, A Man Who Would Cure the World
- Links: Periods Around the World AND Health is a Human Right (NPR)
Extra Resources for Parents
Books: Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Doctor Paul Farmer
- Film: Poverty Inc.