This is a thesis in Spanish, but the English below will introduce you to Morgan’s topic. To read the thesis itself, click on the links to chapters below the introduction. / Esta es una tesis en español, pero la introducción que sigue es un pequeño resumen en inglés. Para leer la tesis, haz clic en los enlaces a los capítulos abajo.
Las disparidades globales en la salud de las mujeres inmigrantes:
El caso de las peruanas en Santiago de Chile y Hartford, Connecticut
de Morgan Bowling
Health is a fundamental human right. However globally, neither access to health care services nor health insurance is guaranteed. This presents a catastrophic problem that, given its complexity, is impossible to discuss in just one study. Therefore, this thesis concentrates on a specific group, one that is particularly vulnerable, the Peruvian immigrant women living in Santiago de Chile and Hartford, Connecticut.
After the atrocities of World War II finally ended, there was a unanimous cry around the globe for the establishment of a universal code of human rights. In response, the General Assembly of the United Nations created the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in 1948, followed by the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) in 1966. These incredibly progressive documents produced both an official discourse on health as a human right and also promoted an international standard that all countries should aspire to achieve. Unfortunately, little progress has been made and the plight of the Peruvian women in Santiago and Hartford highlights the disparities that still exist.
Immigration is not new, but rather a process that has proven its resilience and flexibility for centuries. In this age of globalization and modernization the role immigrants play within societies has strengthened and in turn, further complicated politics. Peru exemplifies a country in transition; however, its history is one filled with chaos, instability, violence and poverty. The women of Peru have been forced to leave their homes in search of jobs and security or/and to be reunited with family members. The phenomenon of social reproduction, one of globalization’s many offspring, has allowed for more affluent societies for these women to work in, Chile and the United States, being two prime examples.
According to national census reports, in 1992 there were 7,649 Peruvians in Chile. By 2002, this number had grown to 22,807 (Solimano 62). It is estimated that by the year 2050, 24.5% of the U.S. population will be Hispanic (Sullivan 1). These two examples demonstrate clearly the growing number of immigrants in these countries and, despite the many differences between Chile and the U.S., they share a common crisis; the people that continue immigrating to their cities do not receive adequate health care and the consequences of this is dire. Only 57.3% of Peruvians in Chile have health insurance (Araujo 59) and it is estimated that over 90% of the 7,500 Peruvians in Hartford are undocumented and without insurance (Ramirez).
Neither Chile nor Connecticut has a system in place that protects its immigrant women. In theory, those that are residing legally have the right to utilize either the private or public sector. However, a long list of barriers and obstacles prevents their access. For those that are undocumented, the task is almost insurmountable.
It is impractical to compare the Chilean and United States’ governments. However, what is important to this thesis is that these two, very different nations exemplify a global predicament. Both the U.S and Chile are ignoring international standards, established over fifty years ago. These two countries offer neither protection nor security to those that are the most vulnerable and in so doing, are exacerbating an existing health care crisis. This thesis presents a comprehensive study of the reality of the experiences these Peruvian immigrants face, in the hope that establishing systems, on both the international and national levels, that are able to provide the necessary and appropriate care to those that need it most, will be achieved.