Response to “Health Care around the World

Today’s world is increasingly complex. Full of fast-paced, high speed, ever-changing technology, the world as we know it is much different from the environment our grandparents, or even our parents, grew up in. Much of this technology has spawned an explosion of incredible capabilities, stretching the boundaries of knowledge and opportunity. However, in a world of increasing complexity, there remain large gaps in the way society operates. We have the ability to perform extensive, life-saving surgeries, but millions of people worldwide suffer from the brutal effects of hunger and poor sanitation. We can save premature babies and individuals afflicted with cancer, but yet much of the global population has limited access to even the most basic elements of health care. Our society has come to operate at such an impersonal state that many humanitarian issues continue to loom large. This is not to say we don’t try. We volunteer and give our time and money; there are multitudes of non-profit organizations that attempt to dispel disparities and reinstitute a humanitarian element. However, many of these issues will remain unresolved, waiting for the leaders of our generation. It’s our turn to work toward a more equitable global environment.
Recently, the GlobeMed chapter at Northeastern has been discussing poverty and the surrounding issues during our Global Health U (GHU) sessions. Last week, we discussed the poverty cycle and its effect on health. Collectively, we discussed how poverty, vulnerability, and poor health relate in a vicious cycle. This cycle is absolutely devastating to those who (for a variety of reasons) become ensnared in its grasp. Though this article provides an overview to many of the health-related issues facing the global community, one of the aspects it touches on focuses in on the issue of paying for health care. Many people living in the impoverished communities of the world lack access to basic health care. However, even if some form of health care is available, it is often incredibly difficult for these people to find the funds to pay for basic care. Being sick and unable to receive care due to monetary restrictions can catalyze an individual into the poverty cycle. In addition, being sick and paying for care that is beyond an individual’s means can also catapult an individual into this cycle.
Though we may not be able to speak from direct experience, our chapter of GlobeMed at Northeastern also recently engaged in a simulation which led us through some of the awful decisions many people in impoverished communities face. As a chapter, we recognized that the decisions we made in the simulation reflected our own ideologies. While we were sensitive to the fact that these ideologies may not align with those of the people in impoverished communities, this simulation allowed each member to better understand and empathize with individuals who must make such decisions real-time. Speaking for myself, the experience served as a powerful reminder of why it is important to continue seeking innovative solutions that will help eliminate the disparities that currently exist.
Health and health care are inevitably incredibly complicated issues. The effects of poor sanitation, unsafe drinking water, lack of food, and limited access to health care are difficult to adequately and effectively address. However, in my opinion, if our generation works together, if we unite under the common goal to improve access to care, future generations might not suffer needlessly. In the words Dr. Joia Mukherjee of Harvard Medical School, “Globalize the notion of basic human dignity.”


Similar Tactics. Great Impact.

By reducing daily child deaths by 12,000 since 1990, UNICEF, a global humanitarian relief organization aimed at providing children with health care and immunizations, clean water, nutrition and food security, education, emergency relief and more, has made great impact in over 150 countries-reaching all corners of the globe. The tactics in which this organization pursues in order to fulfill their goal include fundraising, advocacy, and education in the United States. These tactics are also essential in GlobeMed’s approach. Sharing similar tactics with such a well-developed and successful organization suggests promising potential for the strengthening of GlobeMed’s impact on global health inequity.

GlobeMed focuses largely on fundraising for hygiene and sanitation project in Uganda, but it is also making efforts on emphasizing awareness throughout the community and among its members about the devastating impact and the urgency of global health issues. GlobeMed is beginning to embrace that education is the key to expanding its reach. By raising awareness of the impoverished conditions in Uganda, it hopes to make an even bigger impact by encouraging more people to join in the effort towards global health equity.

UNICEF’s website quotes, “UNICEF will not rest until the number of children dying from preventable cause is zero. Any number greater than zero is unacceptable.” This sets a great example for GlobeMed-showing that efforts to strengthen its impact cannot end before anything less than healthy and sanitary living conditions for all the impoverished.
(Education is key.)

Involvement of Ugandan Women Proves Effective when Fighting Poverty

This article, found in the Huffington Post’s “Women” section, is written by Susan Davis, President and CEO of BRAC USA. BRAC USA, much like GlobeMed, focuses on eradicating poverty and the problems that come with it for communities. Their website states their mission is “to empower people and communities in situations of poverty, illiteracy, disease and social injustice.” This article speaks to something that GlobeMed strongly believes in, which is involving the women in Ugandan villages proves to be a good way to create a sustainable model for improved circumstances for their community. Davis writes, “As our work and that of other antipoverty organizations have shown, when we invest in girls and women, we end up with healthier families, a more flexible workforce, lower HIV rates and a more stable society.” This goes to show GlobeMed’s approach truly is an effective one, and seeing other organizations take the initiative to create sustainable change is great.

Can Babies Be Born HIV Free?

Born HIV Free: Facts and Figures

One of our GlobeMed members came across this video the other day, and it seemed necessary to blog about!

Every minute a child is born with HIV, but The Global Fund has come up with a solution!
They launched a “Born HIV Free” Campaign in May this past year. The goal is that no child is born with HIV by 2015. They are helping to make this happen through distribution of a pill. This pill is inexpensive and 95% effective. What it does, is prevent the transmission of HIV from mother to child during pregnancy.

This medical treatment has already been successful in multiple countries in Africa, and The Global Fund believes that if progress continues as it has been, an HIV free generation is definitely possible for 2015!!