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You Get What You Pay For... Or Do You?

You Get What You Pay For... Or Do You?

Many of us here in America might read articles or blogs online discussing the horrific state of maternal health and antenatal care globally. Perhaps we do this because we believe that our advanced medical infrastructure and sophisticated networks of highly skilled experts are the result of our highly evolved healthcare system. If you say the level and quality of care is clearly superior, you would be 100% correct. If you then say that we get what we pay for, then you’d be 100% wrong. [In the USA right now, 40% of births are funded by Medicaid](http://www.medicaid.gov/Medicaid-CHIP-Program-Information/By-Population/Pregnant-Women/Pregnant-Women.html). This isn’t your private insurance obtained through employment. This is government or state issued medical care for the indigent or medically needy. Our tax dollars are collectively financing nearly half the births in our own country. We were shocked too!

The southern communities of Burkina Faso close to Bongo in the Upper East Region are bustling with the pitter patter of little feet. The world has taken notice of this healthcare model and begun to follow in our western footsteps. [Right now, pregnant women in Ghana are breaking down the doors at clinics and hospitals registering for free antenatal care](http://edition.myjoyonline.com/pages/news/201303/103598.php). The benefits of doing everything possible to ensure a baby is born healthy, has long ranging benefits. Overall, it reduces the likelihood of continuous medical treatment for birth related complications significantly. Second, providing mom with proper screenings and education provides her with basic tools for caring for newborns. This seems like a win-win situation, doesn’t it? It would be, were it not for the fraud being perpetrated by some expectant mothers. Problems have already arisen with volume of patients, and inefficient record keeping. They are more like the United States every day.

We applaud this first effort in Ghana to help our mothers and newborns. There is no data yet indicating the program’s success available. But there will be other countries following in Ghana’s footsteps. We hope they tread carefully and wisely.

a.e.cote 4/2013

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