The Zika virus outbreak is not only about a severe health crisis, but also about the tragedy of women who give birth to babies with microcephaly in Brazil. Most of them have to raise their children all by themselves.
Studies have shown that one in three children belonging to poor families in Brazil are raised by their mothers while their biological father disappears into thin air. In this regards, doctors who are dealing with the Zika virus are extremely concerned that many children suffering from the condition will also be abandoned for not being healthy.
Factors such as the prohibition of abortion and the strain on the health service are not helping either. So you can imagine the terrible situations these mothers have to face when they have to raise their problematic sons and daughter without the aid of the fathers.
Jaqueline Loureiro is a psychologist who works in Campina Grande at a specialized microcephaly clinic. Loureiro has discovered that only ten out the 41 women she is helping are receiving emotional and financial support for their delicate situations from their partners. She believes that the macho culture of Brazil is to blame for this phenomenon.
“At first many of the women say they have a partner, but as you get to know them better you realize the father is never around and the baby and mother have effectively been abandoned.”
Unfortunately, in Latin America, gender roles are very strict and usually women are the ones to care for their babies and tend the household. However, a child with microcephaly adds as a burden, and many men end up refusing to help of simply leaving.
At the moment, Brazil has reported 745 microcephaly cases since October last year, and another 4,230 suspected microcephaly cases are currently being investigated. The magnitude of the crisis does affect not only the health of the country, but also the society.
Unfortunately, the problem is also amplified by the fact that fathers do not receive any specific help from clinics. Most jobs in Brazil are not flexible enough to permit both parents to care for a child with special needs, and thus share the responsibility.
In order to manage this health crisis that extends to other levels, the affected countries will need to adapt and change in order to manage it successfully. Right now, the situation looks grim.
Image Source: The Telegraph
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