Proper disposal of waste

April 10, 2011 § Leave a comment

Proper disposal of waste is extremely important for any society, especially those already struggling with

Improper disposal of human waste can have harmful effects, such as contamination of the community's water supply. This is not only a threat in developing nations, but one we must be vigilant of in the U.S. as well.

clean water. A myriad of diseases can be spread because of water that has been contaminated by human waste. Malaria and cholera among many others can be transmitted in this way.

As a result, many programs have been set in place to correct this issue. The Cleanwaste company is a company that strives to keep people safe and comfortable by manufacturing the most sanitary, dignified, environmentally and ‘human’ friendly human waste disposal products available.  Along with Cleanwaste, other programs have also been used in the United States. Leave No Trace is another program tailored to those in the outdoors. It teaches people how to properly dispose of their waste while in the outdoors so that the waste does not get into the water supply and cause contamination.

Language Barriers Hinder Help

April 9, 2011 § 6 Comments

I read an interesting article from USA Today about how language barriers are keeping people from getting

Language barriers in hospitals can cause issues for international patients.

proper help in hospitals. According to the article, only 23% of hospitals offer training to physicians on how to work with an interpreter. This language barrier can lead to misdiagnoses of problems and also contributes a much lower likelihood for follow-up appointments from patients. It also suggests a higher risk of drug complications.

Poorly trained interpreters also cause problems. The article talks about a girl who suffered from an ear infection. The poorly trained interpreter told the mother to put the antibiotic into the girls ears. One 18-year old boy told doctors that he was intoxicado, which can mean both intoxicated and nauseous.  Doctors spent several hours treating him for a drug overdose before realizing that he had actually suffered from a brain aneurysm. This situation cost the hospital $71 million in malpractice fees. While this is a difficult issue to change, many hospitals and clinics are already working hard to improve their interpretation skills.

Refugee Health

April 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

Because of unrest in Chad, many refugees have been forced to live in refugee camps with deteriorating

While clinics are helpful for refugees in Chad, the large population of refugees in camps is overwhelming.

living standards. Water has been a major competition to these refugees as wells can only offer so much water. A limited number of latrines also created waste management problems. These living quarters are cramped and over populated, making disease inevitable.

Many refugees in these camps suffer from diarrheal diseases and respiratory infections. To those that are lucky, health clinics are available. However these clinics are not always reliable and certainly have a limited supply of materials. While help is possible, the demand for help is overwhelming and the need for better clinics is increasing.

Current Projects

April 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

There are hundreds of programs and projects that are currently striving help people become healthier and happier people. For example, the Global Task Force on Cholera Control is a program that was started in the early ’90s “to reduce mortality and morbidity associated with the disease and to address the social and economic consequences of cholera”. The program has provided education on the prevention and treatment of cholera to several nations.

The Global Task Force on Cholera Control has sought to help those suffering from or at risk of cholera.

The program also teaches nations how to take care of waste material properly and shows them ways to ensure clean water. This is particularly important because while many programs are successful for a while, once the humanitarian aid workers have left, the people using these tools built for them have no ownership of the project and as a result the project is generally not taken care of. However, by teaching the people how do these things themselves, they are so much more likely to take care of it. This allows the people to own the project and to feel a sense of pride in the project, thus compelling them to take better care of it.

Accessibility to treatment

April 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

There is an ever-increasing amount of health issues penetrating the global community. Some of these issues, especially in third world nations, include infectious diseases, while others are chronic, like diabetes. While browsing the internet, I found  one website that talks a number of global issues. It stated that “164,000 people, mostly children under 5, died from measles in 2008 even though effective immunization costs less than 1 US dollars and has been available for more than 40 years”.

Inaccessibility to vaccines, such as this measles vaccine, caused the deaths of 164,000 children across the world in 2008.

I think this is a devastating claim. It is so sad that so many children die each year because they needed help, and what they needed to survive exists, but they could not get to it. Even though the measles shot has been around for 40 years, these children probably did not live in a place where the vaccine was available for any number of reasons. Of course there are so many ways this could have been prevented. Making these vaccines widely available worldwide certainly would cut down on the infant mortality rate across the globe. Also, educating people on how to prevent these diseases is also a major factor. Either way, some action needs to be taken to protect these children’s lives.

Breastfeeding

April 8, 2011 § 2 Comments

Breastfeeding is one of the most important habits to start right when a baby is born. While some mothers may opt out because they find it uncomfortable or awkward, I believe that knowing the benefits make at least trying to breast feed worth the effort. Some of the benefits of breastfeeding are:

  • A strong bond is formed between the mother and her baby and each grows even closer to each other.
  • Breast milk has exactly what her baby needs during the first bit of life. While many formulas are healthy for the baby as well, no formula can replace breast milk.
  • With breast milk, you’ll never have to run to the store because you ran out or would be tempted to water down the formula to save on money. The body produces as much milk as the baby needs so there is always enough and it doesn’t cost a thing so there’s no need to be bashful with what you feed your child. So long as the mother is getting all the nutrition she needs and allowing her child regular feedings, it is nearly impossible for her child to go hungry!
  • Breastfeeding is also a great way for the mother to get in shape! It burns calories and lowers the mothers risks of breast cancer, type 2 diabetes, and many other diseases. However, mothers need to be sure they are getting the recommended amount of vitamins and minerals daily. If they are not eating a healthy diet, their body cannot produce as much milk, and the baby may suffer as a result.

According to the WHO, women all around the globe should breastfeed exclusively for the first six months of the baby's life.

While women choose a variety of different times after birth to stop breastfeeding their child, the World Health Organization recommends that women everywhere breastfeed exclusively for 6 months.  After 6 months, nutritional supplements can be given to the baby and breast feeding should continue until the child is at least 2 years old.

Nutrition

April 4, 2011 § 5 Comments

One really great place to look for the most current international health issues is on the World Health Organization website. While browsing on there, I found a really interesting page that discusses 10 facts about international health.  One of these facts states that “more than one third of preschool-age children globally are vitamin A deficient. Vitamin A deficiency is the leading cause of preventable blindness in children”.

I find this statistic to be astounding. It has always been amazing to me that having or not having just one

It is not uncommon for people to have geophagia, a disorder where the person eats clay, to satisfy their iron or other mineral deficiencies.

essential vitamin or mineral in the body can be the difference between a normally functioning body or not. In the United States, we are fortunate enough to have generally everything our body needs in one grocery store. However, many countries do not have this luxury. Interestingly, some people have a disorder, called pica or geophagia, where they eat clay. Oftentimes, they do this because of an iron or mineral deficiency. It seems sad that while in the U.S., because of the variety of goods grown here and our ability to transport them nationally, we have every vitamin and mineral we need, while other nations revert to eating clay. Hopefully someday the global community will be able to establish a better market for international trade of food so that everyone can have the vitamins and minerals their body needs.