Doctor brings powerful message in new book 0
Dr. Gretchen Roedde, whose work with women and children has taken her to some of the world's poorest countries, talks with a fan at Master's Bookstore. CHAD INGRAM/MINDEN TIMES/QMI AGENCY
She’s practised medicine in villages in countries like Sudan, Papua New Guinea and Bhutan.
And earlier this month, Dr. Gretchen Roedde was at Master’s Bookstore in Haliburton promoting her new book A Doctor’s Quest: The Struggle for Mother and Child Health Around the Globe.
Born in Thunder Bay and brought up on Toronto Island, Roedde began a medical career that would take her to the Third World in the Third-World-like conditions of some of Canada’s First Nations communities.
She taught at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and from there travelled to some 30 countries, ones with some of the worst health-care systems and human rights records on the planet.
She’s trained health workers in Uganda, for example.
Her work has concentrated largely on pregnant women, mothers and children in these places.
“Poor women are more likely to die in labour,” Roedde said, explaining that in many of these countries, there is simply no medical care for those who can’t afford it. “The girl who’s delivering at 13 at her mother-in-law’s house, she’s not going to get service.”
Care for these women is commonly provided on a volunteer basis at a grassroots level.
According to the doctor, every minute a woman dies in childbirth or pregnancy and nearly 25,000 children under the age of five die every day.
Often, corrupt governments create these conditions.
Roedde said the worst thing she’s seen was in Papua New Guinea, where the government created a fund for pregnant women.
“They embezzled it,” she said.
Slowly but surely, Roedde said conditions are improving in these countries, thanks largely to international organizations like the G8.
Her book is available at Master’s.
“Try to support independent bookstores,” she said.
For those unable to make it to the store, the book is also available on amazon.com.