Utah Valley Global Health Group

A blog about global health for those living in Utah Valley and their friends.

Archive for October, 2006

Global Health Links

Posted by chads on October 28, 2006

At the bottom of this blog, you will find some links to global health sites that I have found useful and/or interesting. Here is a quick introduction to them:

The Core Group is a “coalition of nongovernmental organizations” committed to “responding to health issues that put children at risk.” Anyone involved in an NGO that is interested in maternal and child health issues should check out this site. There are manuals, reports, etc. on a variety of community-based health programs ranging from malnutrition to malaria. They also have several meetings annually, list serves, and a consultant database.

The Global Health Council is “the world’s largest membership alliance dedicated to saving lives by improving health throughout the world.” I highly recommend their weekly newsletter, and I’ve heard that their annual conference is the premier global health conference.

The Johns Hopkins Center for Global Health is “a unique collaboration between three institutions – the Bloomberg School of Public Health, the School of Medicine, and the School of Nursing – that harnesses the expertise of its dedicated health and medical professionals to address a myriad of global health challenges: HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, malnutrition, hepatitis and other threats to health, especially in developing countries.” It’s a new center with a lot of potential.

The Gorgas Course is a 9-week course in tropical medicine for physicians and other health care providers. I took the course in 2002, and found it very well organized and rigorous. They have also posted weekly tropical medicine cases for several years.

The Time Global Health Blog has decent articles on headlines in global health, though there aren’t many comments and discussion.

The Center for Global Development also has a blog focusing on global health policy. Again, not much discussion, but informative articles.

Care for Life is a small NGO in Mozambique. I have been involved in their organization for several years.

What global health links have you found useful? Let me know, and I’ll add them onto this blog.

Posted in Links | 4 Comments »

Is Health a Human Right?

Posted by chads on October 26, 2006

For reasons that I don’t entirely understand, there have been times in history when it seems that the majority of a society has come to some sort of a consensus that the current state of affairs simply cannot be. People and organizations with differing goals unite and sacrifice to bring about change on a grand scale.

We often look back at those times and wonder why change did not happen sooner. It seems blatantly obvious, for example, that women should be able to vote, or that people are not property, or that children should not be forced to work long hours in dangerous factories.

The current global health situation, I believe, represents one of those historical times. The numbers are staggering, almost incomprehensible. An estimated 10 million children under the age of five die yearly, and 63% of those are preventable. 38.6 million people world wide were living with HIV at the end of 2005, and most will die young if major changes are not made in the way we view health very soon. Similar statistics abound with respect to women dying during childbirth, children in Africa dying of malaria, etc.

I believe that future generations will look back at our time and see a need that so desperately needed to be filled that it will leave them asking “why?” in the same way we do about slavery and women’s rights. Recent advances in communication, transportation, public health practices, and medical advances make the cause so much clearer.

While the United Nations declared that “everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself…” in 1948, it seems to me that the movement to consider health a human right on a grand scale has only come to pass recently. This movement has been fueled by the AIDS pandemic.

Viewing health in a human rights framework has several advantages. There seems to be a sense of urgency when a cause is viewed as a right. It also provides historical precedence; comparing the current movement to prior struggles can provide examples for strategies, as well as hope that change can take place.

There are also many limitations to the view that health is a human right. The first is the very difficult (impossible?) task of defining health. There is also, of course, the risk of a slippery slope. A recent article received quite a bit of news coverage when it showed that swimming with dolphins was effective at treating depression. Are all depressed people who have failed traditional management entitled to their own dolphin? Viewing health as a human right also begs the question of enforcement. Who should be accountable to ensuring basic health? Parents? Communities? Governments? Multinational Agencies?

Personally, I welcome the potential struggle with definitions and a slippery slope. I also welcome the myriad of difficult questions that come with ensuring that all have basic health. I view health as a human right because the alternative – the current global health situation – is unacceptable.

Posted in Health and Human Rights | 2 Comments »

WELCOME!

Posted by chads on October 26, 2006

Hello, and welcome to Unacceptable, a blog about global health. Frankly, I think that current global health disparities are unacceptable, but I’m not sure exactly what to do about them. Hence, this blog. You can learn more about me in the About Me section.

Here are some of my purposes in creating this blog:

  1. VENT. Like most bloggers, I guess, I’ve got stuff in my head that I think everyone else should hear about.
  2. CREATE COMMUNITY. I believe strongly that change comes about when people discuss, compromise, and collaborate. I’d like to get to know others interested in global health. I hope that this blog serves as a way to keep in touch over time, regardless of where we might be. Perhaps we can even make a difference.
  3. EXPLORE IDEAS. I’d like this to be a venue to discuss recent studies, news, and ideas related to global health.
  4. ANNOUNCE OPPORTUNITIES.

Here are some of the ground-rules for commenting:

  1. There will be no tolerance for spam or advertisements.
  2. Civility and Respect will be expected. A variety of potentially sensitive subjects may be discussed, and I hope that people from a variety of professional, religious, political backgrounds feel welcome to participate. The only requirement is that all commenters have an interest in improving global health. I would be thrilled if economists, lawyers, atheists, public health specialists, epidemiologists, Muslims, stay-at-home moms, socialists, conservatives, and anyone else that is interested would join in the discussion!
  3. Discussions should be based on data when possible, and the limitations of data should be acknowledged. Endless arguments based soley on ideology or opinion is only rarely fruitful.

Here are a few of my plans for the blog:

  1. I will begin by posting at least weekly
  2. I hope to do a monthly book review. The first book will be Millions Saved: Proven Successes in Global Health by Ruth Levine.
  3. I hope to do a monthly article review, with a focus on the methodology. While my experience in statistics and scientific methodology is very limited, I think that everyone involved in global health should learn to read articles critically.
  4. I hope to have invited co-bloggers monthly.

By the way, I am totally new at this whole blogging thing, so comments/suggestions are welcome.

ENJOY!

Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments »