“I always say – we’re not always rich back home – but we do whatever we can, we speak out.”
Camila is a senior staff nurse at Great Ormond Street Hospital. She moved to London from the Philippines a few years ago.
How hard is it to get a caesarean section?
It’s not easy to have surgery unless it’s really urgent. Even when it is urgent. Sometimes there’s nothing to do but surgery – like for a woman in obstructed labour – but if you don’t have the money, you don’t have the C-section.
Or if you can get to a hospital that caters to the really poor people, you have to get through a lot of red tape, pass a process, meet the criteria, how urgent are you really…It’s tedious and it’s dangerous. Before you can be seen you’re at the end point already.
How do people handle this?
Some families will just accept it. This is what I’m receiving because I’m poor. They’re used to it. They have that mentality ‘I’ll always have the second type of services.’
But some of them of course still fight for what they deserve. For their mother, their sister, their child. They will go to the complaint system. But it’s a long process.
And when you lose someone you love, and you know they could have been saved – the grief is still the same, the loss is still the same. Whatever standard of life you live, you go through the same process.
What can you do to change the system?
You can only fight for it – you don’t know if you’re going to change the result, even if you get the surgery.
I always say – we’re not always rich back home – but we do whatever we can, we speak out. Then at least you’ve done what you can, and you pray and hope that the next time it happens there will be a better outcome – if not for your family, for someone else.
Why is access to surgery so important?
It’s the difference between rich and poor. It’s poverty, isn’t it. If you have money, you can do everything.
But health should be the ultimate equal opportunity. Rich or poor, a woman or a man. Whatever standard you are in life, you should have an equal chance at this. If one needs surgery – it should be given.