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The other side of policy

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Photo by: Ron Dyar

Policies are used to govern a society, a people, an organization etc. Policies are never set in stone. Or rather, they should never be made with the intention of being permanent. As time passes and as natural and unexpected changes occur, policies in turn need to be refined.

Systemic racism exists in large part, due to lack of governments and other institutions, re-evaluating the limitations of old policies. Path dependency is easy. It probably even saves money, since no change is made. However, certain kinds of path dependencies can have long-term destructive impacts.

Path dependency can be fatal. Kalief Browder (an African-American) was imprisoned as a teenager, based on allegation of crime. At some point, he was transferred to solitary confinement. There was never a trial before his imprisonment. Not too long after his release from prison, Browder committed suicide. Imprisonment of a teenager, without trial. If you may, let that sink in. The prison industrial complex in the United States (US), as well as in Canada has enabled the over-representation of certain minority groups.

Alarms are currently being raised about the significantly high rates of mortality for Black women during childbirth, regardless of socio-economic status. What kinds of past or maybe, recent policies are causing this anomaly? What are the new policies that need to be adopted in the US healthcare sector, to curb the mortality of Black women during childbirth? These are only a few of the questions that the government, doctors and other health care workers need to be brainstorming seriously.

On the note of health care, Nigeria continues to experience a serious brain drain of doctors because the latter, want and deserve fairer treatment. The catastrophe of this loss will boomerang on the welfare of the masses, as well as on the purse of the Nigerian state. Why not the state, negotiate better pay policies with doctors and save several lives? Why not the state, negotiate better working condition policies with doctors, so that Nigerians who do not have money to go abroad for healthcare can stand a chance at survival?

Policies are made to be changed.

The Uighurs of China are a religious and ethnic minority group who are currently experiencing surveillance and incarceration by the Chinese government. They are not quite free to practise their faith in a secular nation. China’s human rights stance is an aspect of the nation that has been quite unchanged, even amidst its huge economic accomplishments. Systems, policies, standards should constantly be up for debate by those in power.

Failure to consider who and what are constantly being marginalized by policies (whether written or unspoken/convention) will boomerang. Whether through protests, increased government/institutional spending on a preventable issue, high mortality rates, violence, shortage of labour etc.

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