Health concerns have been an ongoing battle between the United States and the Marshall Islands. On March 1, 1954 the US exploded an atomic bomb, code named Bravo, that dropped its irradiated nuclear fallout on populated islands of the northern Marshalls. The immediate results were burns, hair falling out, and nasty sores that did not heal, and subsequent stillbirths and jelly baby births. The long-term results were cancers, especially high rates of cancer of the goitre, and goitre nodules, with the ongoing effect on stunted growth and reduced immunities of children born 20 and 30 years after that event.
In this paper, the author outlines four issues within this complex issue, as she perceive them. The women are mainly concerned about their children, as she elaborates. Secondly their own health, and reproduction requires ongoing monitoring. Thirdly, the young women, particularly on rural atolls, are bearing children before their bodies can adequately nourish the infant. And fourthly the women play a major caring role for the men and children and young people in their families; this is hampered when the women are sick or debilitated.