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U.S. Can Learn From African Nations’ Positive Health Examples

New York Times: What We Can Learn From ‘S-Hole Countries’
Nicholas Kristof, New York Times columnist

“Despite President Trump’s reported call to reject immigrants from ‘shithole countries,’ people from these countries actually have plenty to teach us. Let’s start with a quiz: Which country was the first in the world to ban government discrimination against gays in its constitution? … Answer: It’s the so-called s-hole country, South Africa. It also bans discrimination based on gender and disability. Someday all the world will be so enlightened. Here are other examples we can learn from: … Sierra Leone’s president has committed the country to providing free health care for children under five and for pregnant women, including prenatal care and deliveries, although care still lags. … Rwanda may eliminate cervical cancer before America, for Rwanda vaccinates virtually all girls against the human papillomavirus, which causes cervical cancer. … African health officials have strongly promoted breastfeeding to make sure that babies get the healthiest possible start in life. … African governments have conscientiously followed recommendations of the World Health Assembly to curb infant formula marketing that discourages breastfeeding; the U.S. has not. … ‘Africa, like any continent, has its problems,’ notes Ken Roth of Human Rights Watch. ‘But it also has its areas where it excels. We diminish ourselves when we dismiss entire nations with an epithet rather than open ourselves to the positive examples they set'” (1/17).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.