Perspectives: China’s Reproductive Rights Problem; Will Boston Follow New York’s Safe Injection Site Model?
Editorial pages examine these public health issues.
As China Limits Vasectomies, Many Ask What’s Next
China’s government has been warning about limited supplies of everything from energy to poultry this winter. But another shortage has lately raised some more existential concerns: Vasectomies are increasingly hard to come by. Large public hospitals in China’s biggest cities have stopped offering the procedure, or are restricting it to married men with children, according to a recent report in the Washington Post. No formal policy exists on the matter. But thanks to China’s rapidly falling birthrate, and the government’s avowed determination to reverse it, physicians and hospital administrators are taking the hint. (Adam Minter, 12/16)
The Boston Globe:
New York Is Home To The First Supervised Injection Sites In America. Let Boston Be Next.
With about a month left in office, Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York announced the opening of the first two sanctioned safe consumption facilities in the country, designated places where opioid users can inject illegal drugs like heroin and fentanyl under medical supervision. For such a controversial move, it was done quietly. But make no mistake: De Blasio’s step is a major milestone in the fight against the opioid epidemic, which has continued to rage in the shadows of the COVID-19 pandemic. (12/17)
The New York Times:
Is Our Homelessness Crisis Really A Drug Problem?
How much of America’s homelessness crisis can be attributed to a deepening nationwide addiction problem and new forms of meth and fentanyl that destroy or just straight-up end people’s lives? And can we even begin to talk about permanent housing solutions before we address the drug problem? (Jay Caspian Kang, 12/16)
Health Care Workers Suffer From More Than Burnout
We survived the pandemic’s early days with purpose-fueled adrenaline. Working in the epicenter of the first Covid-19 outbreak in the U.S., two of us (R.H. and K.H.) scrambled to transition as many patients as possible to telemedicine, but still worked on site in the hospital. Soon afterward, T.N. was on the frontlines as highly infectious patients flooded her intensive care unit. Our caseloads grew, and we worried about bringing Covid-19 home from the hospital and infecting vulnerable family members. Encouraged to engage in self-care, we walked and connected with colleagues. Eventually the pandemic took its toll, causing burnout, insomnia, anxiety, and grief. Mounting evidence shows we aren’t alone. (Rebecca Hendrickson, Katherine Hoerster and Thanh Neville, 12/16)
The Star Tribune:
Ethical Decision Is Protecting Patients
Generations of families have brought their loved ones to Mayo Clinic when disease strikes, sometimes traveling thousands of miles to do so. The trust placed in this renowned medical center obligates it to put patients' health first at all times. In a pandemic, that means requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for staff. Those who come to Rochester for healing should expect that their caregivers have done everything possible to prevent infection from a potentially deadly virus. ... Disturbingly, 38 Republican legislators in Minnesota recently signed a letter accusing Mayo of unethical behavior for enforcing this vital patient protection policy. (12/16)
Free Access To Family Planning Resources Will Help Strengthen Families
Access to medically-accurate information and effective forms of free contraceptive care is essential for women living in Middle Tennessee. Healthy women equal healthy children and healthy families. During this time of rebuilding from natural disasters and COVID-induced setbacks, it is more important than ever that every woman, regardless of her income level, insurance coverage or employment status, has an opportunity to access costly but highly effective birth control known as LARC (long-acting, reversible contraception). (Jacqueline B. Dixon and Revida Rahman, 12/16)
Trying To Answer The Big Questions About Drug Prices Is Hard To Do
Public debate over legislation to allow Medicare to negotiate the price of drugs has been dominated by stories of personal suffering caused by high drug prices, accounts of lifesaving cures provided by pharmaceutical innovations, and arguments regarding nuanced economic models of how reducing drug prices could affect government spending and pharmaceutical innovation. Big questions related to the role of companies or government in providing for the health of the public have gotten short shrift. (Fred D. Ledley, 12/16)