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This global health class has played a big impact in my perspective of the health care system, and heath internationally. One of the biggest contributors of this were the visitors we had. From all the visitors I was able to understand what health looks like in different cultures, ZoaTraore representing Africa, Dr. Muhammad Javaid representing Pakistan and Special Agent Jeff Howard representing a Native American reservation. In the United States we have a system that regulates health care, finances it, and provides health and clinical services and advocates for professionals to stay updated to the evolving technology and drugs that we are producing. On the other hand we forget what health looks like in other societies. Many lack the simple resources, and some even lack medical professionals to provide them with services. After Dr. Phil Smith the medical director of the Biocontainment Unit in UNMC I took on a task of my own, looking into research on Ebola in the developing countries that it is an epidemic at.
I came across Paul Farmer a physician and an anthropologist, his perspective of Ebola was interesting “Both nurses and doctors are scarce in the region’s most heavily affected by Ebola. Even before the current crisis killed many of Liberia’s health professionals, there were fewer than fifty doctors working in the public health system in a country of more than four million people, most of whom live far from the capital. That’s one physician per 100,000 population, compared to 240 per 100,000 in the United States or 670 in Cuba” (Farmer, 2014). In addition to not having enough doctors and nurses many developing countries do not have the resources to help patients nor save any lives. This was the same perspective that ZoaTraore shared when he talked about his research in his country with Malaria. This opportunity to have speakers come in and share their knowledge pushed me to do more research not just on health problems found in the United States but worldwide.
After my groups presentation on Infant mortality I was terrified at the things that I found. We’ve talked about health disparities a lot in class, from Australia, to Africa and even United States but these data did not seem realistic. Looking at African countries the main cause of the high rate of infant mortality are “preterm birth complications, pneumonia, birth asphyxia, diarrhea and malaria. About 45% of all child deaths are linked to malnutrition” According to the World health organization(2014). But when comparing this to the causes of infant mortality rates in the United States amongst African American women it us much different. The CDC shares that “Preterm, or premature, delivery is the most frequent cause of infant mortality, accounting for more than one third of all infant deaths during the first year of life. The infant mortality rate among black infants is 2.4 times higher than that of white infants, primarily due to preterm birth” (2015).
The United States has one of the worst infant mortality rates as a developed country and its sad seeing data like this. Why is preterm delivery the biggest problem African American women face? These explanation vary, including “late or no prenatal care, smoking, drinking alcohol, using illegal substances, domestic violence, lack of social support, extremely high levels of stress, and long working hours with long periods of standing”. To me, I realized that there are many factors that are shared worldwide and health disparities amongst cultures are one. Knowing that many women in Africa face preterm delivery just like many African American women in the United States drew a connection to a common factor. I learned that we have to find the connection amongst data collected because everything is a piece to a larger puzzle.
The most important thing that I’ve learned so far is that a solution is always possible it just requires the right attention, surveillance and support. In Biehl’s article The Brazilian Response to AIDS and the Pharmaceuticalization of Global health. He talks about how the health surveillance system is not reliable and the data about HIV and AIDS are not accurate. These data are said to be inaccurate because there are many HIV and AIDS affected individuals that are not accounted for in the system when they come in for treatment of when they die. It was as though Brazil was trying to cover up their AIDS problem, and they did a great job doing so because many of the individuals affected were homosexuals, prostitutes, drug addicts and the very lower class of the population. Although the government provided patients with free ARV this wasn’t enough. ARV’s are only capable of working to its best when the patients has food, water and nutrients in their system. Because many individuals that were affected lacked these nourishing attributes many died from the aggressiveness of the ARV in their body or just did not take it at all, and still ended up dying. “Governments, and civic organizations focus on funding rather than implementation” (Hahn, 2009, p 493) the government wasn’t doing their job. If we look at the three interventions, primary, secondary, and tertiary, there was no plan. They did not provide any stable options to avoid the spread of HIV and AIDS, they did not reduce the impact of HIV because the hid the true data and they failed to provide people with enough resources to help them. If the government was to have acknowledged that they had a problem, came up with a plan to address it, and then had an organization to maintain the efficiency of their plan they would have eradicated the problem, but instead they prolonged the impact the problem had on their society. I think that this idea of intervention is important because it lets you tackle a problem before it becomes out of control. This is something I plan to use in the future when I enter the medical field and work in developing countries.
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