Friday, September 26, 2008

I miss Medicare

Cervical cancer test I just read this article in the Phnom Penh post. I have been thinking about preventative medical stuff this week (vaccines, checkups ), and how rich/Western people think its important and spend money on it, but Cambodians generally live one day at a time.

I had 2 moles cut off yesterday at an expensive international clinic (one was bleeding, one the colour had spread). On a normal day I don't talk to any other expats, so the only people I've talked to about it so far have been Cambodians. Its a funny idea to them that I would go to the doctor when I wasn't even sick- and I wonder what they would think if they knew it cost more than my husband earns in a month?

The international doctor said it would be irresponsible not to send the moles to be examined as there is a 2% chance I will need more treatment. (We sometimes go to a Khmer clinic but for this I chose to go to the international one as I guess the Khmer doctor would have a different approach- eg- tell me to come back when I was actually sick).

But it does seem strange even to me to spend this money when there are a lot more serious medical problems all around such as people sick and dying from preventable diseases and malnutrition.

"I would rather die of AIDS in ten years than of starvation tomorrow". I heard someone say this once, they were quoting a sex worker in a developing country (in Africa?).

"Make sure you wear insect repellent all the time, you have to protect yourself from dengue fever." My travel doctor was advising me before I came to Cambodia for the first time about how to stay healthy. She said even though the local wouldn't be wearing repellent I should. Death and sickness is a way of life to them, but I'm a Western and I should keep myself healthy.

I remember wondering how that line of thinking would fit if those locals were my family (which they are now). And I think of that conversation when the topic of how Western Christian cross cultural workers should live when they are serving in developing countries. Live like the locals or like rich outsiders? (What kind of medical care should they have?)

These are just some random thoughts, I imagine I'll be thinking about this more in the years to come, I wonder what I'll be thinking? If you have any thoughts please leave a comment!

(And if you live in Cambodia and know of other good clinics let me know. Maybe I should look around and see what is available, maybe there is a cheaper place to go?)

1 comment:

Jaime S said...

I agree with the saying "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure". Sure you're taking the risk you never needed the cure and therefore risked the ounce being a waste. For me it's worth it.