Thursday, November 15, 2007

over, under & self medication

when i was in 6th grade my uncle died. really, he wasn't my uncle, he was one of my dad's best friends from childhood and was a pretty constant fixture in our lives when we were really small. he od'ed. and for some reason, my dad and i became active in the philadelphia AIDS walk and as i got older, i became more and more involved in the movement.
i was sure that i had all the answers and that if we could just make medicine affordable, we could obliterate the disease. afterall, if the damn drug companies would just cooperate, infected africans could buy their drugs for "as little" as one US dollar a day. what i didn't realize was how much one dollar really is.
amalio and i are blessed with an amazing, state-run medical insurance provided by the dominican government because amalio is a teacher in the public school system. all of my pre-natal care, emergency room visits and even my c-section and hospital stay were completely free. the only thing i paid was a measly $125RD pesos (about $4US dollars) for an ultrasound. the only thing our insurance doesn't cover are prescription drugs.
not a big deal right? amalio was diagnosed with salmonella yesterday and given three prescriptions. drugs here are relatively cheap compared with the US, afterall there is no FDA and there definitely aren't any big pharm-companies lobbying in the dominican government. even still, the three prescriptions would cost nearly half of our monthly income. and we're pretty comfortably middle-class citizens. i can't imagine the burden of buying drugs in a poor family.
The antibiotic cost $18RD pesos each, not to mention the other drugs (who knows what they were for? I wasn't listening to the doctor.)
Living here is giving me a better perspective on all of the things i thought i had figured out. okay, maybe we can get those damn drug companies to lower their prices to $1US dollar a day for AIDS meds, but even at that "low low" price, i'm sure africans who earn less than dominicans (generally speaking) can't afford even $1US for medication and still feed their families.
i'm not really sure what there is to be done about this... it's just something that is frustrating me and there is no real answer or solution.

amalio is sick, i was sick yesterday with a fever and general exhaustion. thankfully, samil is in perfect health (with the exception of a little diaper rash). we took this picture last weekend.
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