Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Stupid Laws to Cover for Lack of Education

Jenna at Bugigangas posted about a new stupid law here in Brazil. It's about warning labels in underwear telling people that they need to get annual exams (think pap smears and prostate exams).

I'm sorry but they need the stupid laws here. These things that we consider common sense have not been taught. It's difficult to get your kid to learn the math they need to in most public schools, reproduction class would probably be them throwing condoms at the kids if the government was actually willing to pay for them.

There is a total lack of education when it comes to taking care of oneself here. People who use the public healthcare fall into two categories: Overly cautious and ignorant. It mirrors one of Brazil's greatest issues, the lack of a grey area.

This coming from a woman who attempted to live in the grey. Let's just say it's uncomfortable.

Hell, I had to take "education" classes at the public hospital where my oldest was born. Since it's a training program for UFRJ they have a more intensive program with requirements to give birth there.

The first question in my first class was "When can a woman get pregnant?" To say I was surprised by the simplicity of the question would be the biggest understatement humanly possible. Of course I figured that with the program I was in people would probably give the answer 'after their first period.' By the way, the correct answer is after your first ovulation which is before your first period.

Boy was I off. One woman, maybe in her 30s and on her 3rd child, ventured to answer with "at 17 years old." For heaven's sake, there was a pregnant 13 year old in the class! Wrong!

I will not even go into the mind blowingly crazy stuff they had to talk about. Ok, one example. They had to explain that is was ok to put your baby into water in the first two weeks and that no their skin was not going to fall off.

The thing is that if you don't educate your population these kind of wives' tales will continue. If there is no other way to get information, false information will spread like a wild fire. And Brazil is wasting tax payer's money (which they love to do) passing bullshit legislation because they don't want to face the huge pile of shit of a task of fixing what they need to fix.

Brazil needs to educate their people. They need to vastly improve the public education and health systems. They really need to teach the public doctors to not herd the population through their hospital like cattle using general terms like "throat infection" or "childhood illness".

Put money into the system, that won't get stolen, and make it so teachers and doctors have the time and means to explain things correctly. Make more schools, hire more teachers, and pay everyone better.

But first, make it a law that all public workers must use the public system, ie. health and education. I think that a governor will think twice before stealing from the education budget if his kid is in the system.

Let's knock some heads and make some changes people! Shake the boat! Hell, let's flip the thing over! 


  1. Jesus. It's so bad. I can tell you some of the horror stories Alexandre has had with really, really ignorant patients (like the pregnant 13-year-old who didn't understand why she was pregnant. I mean, sure, she'd forgotten her pill sometimes, but then she just gave it to her boyfriend to take it).

    I've heard this radical idea from one of my doctor students that, before receiving bolsa familia, the women should be required to have reproduction classes, or at least be required to get the depo shot. It sounded way too radical for me and seemed like a slippery slope for women's rights, but I haven't been able to think of any other short-term solution. Giving them pregnancy classes when they're about to give birth seems a little too late.

  2. Rach- you forget that even within the public system there are HUGE gaps. A lot of rich people compete to get their kids into a very select group of public schools through a rigged "lottery" system and then vestibulinhos which the well off pay tutors to train their kids for. It would be very for a powerful person to place their kid in CAP-UERJ or Dom Pedro, then move on to Colegio Naval or Colegio Militar and finish it all of with an engineering Degree from UFRJ, UFF, UENF, etc. Go into the NAVE (visual arts school) or FATEC and you'll think pub. ed. is FANTASTIC in Rio. Lots of hands on learning and job/tech prep and some state of the art technology. Go into a public hospital when you are well known or personally know the doctor and magically your name will be called extremely quickly and you'll leave with free medicine in your hand, a free shot and not understanding why anyone complains! Since many people use their professional ID's as ID, there is no fooling the person at the desk that you may be well connected/able to screw them or help them out.

    Brazil needs to work on changing what basically is a feudal system (where the rich and powerful do everything to keep themselves rich, powerful and isolated and the poor have no choice but to agree in exchange for a few handouts and novelas) before they can effectively change education, eliminate corruption and move forward.

    The gov has no interest in helping the poor become aware that maybe their situation is unfair and could be changed with a series of little steps, but I'm glad they are at least trying to give them a few more bones and promote a couple healtheir attitudes.

  3. Danielle- seriously?! To her boyfriend?! I agree on the slippery slope but maybe reproductive education for the entire family, husband included?

    Anon- You are right. Totally right. I had an English student who's son "won" the lottery at the UFRJ public elementary school. What a coincidence seeing that he was the head of the sociology department at the university... That and most of his friend's kids went to that school. Hmmm

  4. There could be a clause for public schools like we have in the US. You go to the public school that is associated with your neighborhood. The people of Ipanema would not be able to go to the "good" public school of Urca or wherever.

  5. I totally agree with you Rachel, by the way, it should be the same for the US too, Public worker's kids should be mandatory to be enrolled in Public Schools and their families should be forced to use Public hospitals, that should go for city council, majors, governor, congress, senate and even the President's kids, both for Brazil and the US, both countries need major help when it comes to education and health.
    Asia and Europe have been kicking our butts for years when it comes to education and the health system in the US is pathetic, if you have money you are good, if you don't have money God help you!
    Brazil's health system is still in the crawling stages, but it's crawling in the right direction, which is a good thing, but there is a long way to go.

  6. Oh Ray, don't even get me started on the US system! At least you have a real public one up and running down here!

    I agree, Asia and Europe have been seriously kicking both of our butts! Pretty soon Asia is just going to take over the US as, in Bill Gate's words, our people will only be qualified to wash their cars

  7. Rachel,

    Not all is lost yet, we just need to keep these greedy bastard Republicans away from power a little longer, then we just might have a chance.
    Massachusetts has a great Universal/Private Health care system that is working really well, it's very simple, if you have a job, you HAVE to buy health insurance, you don't have money or a job, the state buys PRIVATE health insurance for you, like Blue Cross Blue Shield, that way, the state doesn't have to fund Public Hospitals that can be real money pits. It works super well, the poor or unemployed have super decent private health insurance and go have treatment wherever they need/want. No, the state didn't fall into a black hole.
    Oh, MITT ROMNEY, a REPUBLICAN created this system in Massachusetts, which inspired Obama's health care plan for the whole country.
    I wanna see Mitt Romney criticize Obama Care ( inspired on his Massachusetts creation ) if he runs for president. ;)