October 28, 2010 § Leave a comment
Following the completion of her undergraduate coursework at Princeton University, Juliet Sorensen chose to utilize her education to serve the greater good. Joining the Peace Corps in 1995, Juliet Sorensen relocated to rural Morocco, where she spent two years working to improve public health. In her capacity as a Peace Corps volunteer, Juliet Sorensen employed her skills to educate villagers about the importance of proper nutrition, sanitation, dental hygiene, and family planning. Additionally, Juliet Sorensen assisted in the implementation of several sustainable development projects designed to ensure the long-term well-being of Morocco’s rural population.
With a population of approximately 30 million, Morocco struggles to improve its public health care system, a sector that must assist the country’s poor and rural populations. According to a 2005 census, 45 percent of Moroccans live outside of cities and often find it difficult to access basic social services. Ranked 125th by the Human Development Index (HDI) in 2005, Morocco continues to combat a marked lack of generalized education and a high adult illiteracy rate. Such factors further contribute to insufficiencies in the public health care system. Although the country boasts diverse resources such as agriculture, fishing, and a growing tourism industry, economic growth stagnates. This is partly because of a low standard of living in rural communities, a situation exacerbated by notable income inequalities and ineffectual government policies. Surveys completed over the past few years indicate that at least 19 percent of Moroccans subsist under the national poverty line, and of this 19 percent, 70 percent live in rural areas. Moroccan women are especially risk disease and poverty, and earn 40 percent less than their male counterparts.
Lack of income contributes greatly toward a Moroccan’s inability to procure proper medical services. Until recently, the country considered health care to be a non-productive industry, as the national health care sector contributes almost nothing to the annual Gross Domestic Product. With an average of only one physician for every 2,100 residents, Morocco trails far behind other developing countries in regards to the quality and availability of medical services.