A rant about Brazilian medical care and government

Wednesday May 21:

Woke up early at about 6:30. Went to the throat doctor, who thank god spoke English from her studies in the U.S, and after relieving my worry and counting out mumps told me I had simply contracted some bacterial infection. She gave me a prescription for an antibiotic and painkiller, yet of course there was another wrench thrown in. I’m allergic to a variety of antibiotics so the one she prescribed me proved EXTREMELY difficult to find in any pharmacy within a 20 mile radius. Clara, our program coordinator, called about 10 pharmacies nearby, called the lab in Sao Paolo state where the antibiotic is made to see if they had any…nothing. So we had to get another prescription and call around to see who had THAT prescription. We finally found a pharmacy nearby that had it so I finally got to take my medicine around 8 at night. All the while I feel like shit and I’m just passed out at my host mothers house. I swear Ana thought I had narcolepsy or something.

My Brazilian meds…

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This is what I have learned about medical care in Brazil. It has gotten better but it is nowhere near where it needs to be. Brazilians are furious with the government for spending so much money on the World Cup and preparing for the Olympics when all of that money needs to be going towards schools, infrastructure, and ESPECIALLY medical care. Talking with one of our friends who works in Brazil in the medical field, he told us that the government has cut back on funding and medication distribution each month so that for about 3 weeks out of every month they are struggling to obtain the right medications usually for children. I experienced this first hand when I had immense difficulty finding a certain antibiotic that I know I would have had no trouble finding back in the states. Don’t quote me for sure on all of this. I might have some of the details wrong but the general statement that the government’s money is not being well spent is completely valid. Almost every Brazilian I talked to who mentioned government spending became so bitter and angry with all of the hype and money being spent on both the World Cup and the Olympics (which I heard through the Brasilian grapevine might be moved to another location because the Olympic committee doesn’t believe Brazil is capable of having everything ready by the time of the games). I’m sure the government is hoping it brings a lot of revenue from tourism, but the World Cup is also completely disregarding natural Brazilian culture. FIFA has go on to ban the local Brazilian vendors from selling the native acaraje (a fried bean thing that’s delicious and the equivalent to hot dogs at baseball games for us), coconut waters, pastels, etc within a 2km radius of the futbol stadiums in order to sell the sponsors like Coca Cola, Lays, etc. I am appalled and disgusted. It would be like FIFA banning local vendors from selling hot dogs, coke, and popcorn at any sporting event; it’s not a huge deal but it’s the principle of the matter since those foods are apart of their culture and many of those local vendors make their living completely based off those tourist situations.

I digressed a bit from medical care…..but I can sympathize with the Brazilian citizens. There is a complete disregard for their present well being in preparation for the Cup and the Games.

I was also upset because, like my adorable father, I am interested in history and missed the lecture on slavery and life in the Condomble (slave quarters during colonial times) and a visit to a preserved Condomble in Salvador. The antibiotics hadn’t had time to work yet so I was still in pain, passed out in my bed at Ana’s home. I ate some jello that night, God bless Ana and her jello.

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