This summer our three-year-old daughter had her tonsils and adenoids removed. Many children have this routine surgery, but we still teared-up a bit as they wheeled her away. Then we enjoyed our coffee while we waited for the surgeon to tell us everything went “just fine.” Because we knew it would be. Even if there was a complication we rest assured in the fact that we were in the United States.
This summer Mama Youyou, our nanny in Congo, also had a routine surgery and we were scared out of our minds. Mama Youyou waited to have her surgery until we left for our summer break in the States so she wouldn’t have to take off work. (Bless her.) When she told us she needed the surgery, we did everything we could to make sure she had access to good health care.
You see, Mama Youyou has already outlived her life expectancy as a Congolese woman. Complications during routine surgeries in DRC, and lack of access to medical care, are the type of thing that keeps her life expectancy rate down. (more…)