Utah Valley Global Health Group

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

Archive for December, 2006

More Links

Posted by chads on December 28, 2006

I have included the following links at the bottom of the page, including a new category (NGOs):

Technology, Health, and Development is a blog that hopes to “bring together public health advocates, teachers, engineers, computer scientists and business/technology experts who may not normally interact” to tackle global health problems. Their posts are interesting and innovative, their announcements timely. I agree that global health problems “cannot be solved by any one idea or set of experts, and that a group effort is essential.”

Brown for Global Health is another blog dedicated to global health. It’s worth a look; they address important issues, and generate discussion.

The American Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene is a good place to start for clinicians interested in clinical tropical medicine. There is info about conferences, their journal, and the ASTMH Certification Program.

World Health Organization. News, Health Topics, Publications, etc.

Esperanca is an NGO that sends surgical teams to Central America and implements public health programs in various countries.

Posted in Links | Leave a Comment »

Sacrifice and Service

Posted by chads on December 15, 2006

Interesting post about the cost of service at the Mormon blog By Common Consent.

Posted in Global Health and Mormonism, Practical Advice | Leave a Comment »

Peace is the Way

Posted by chads on December 13, 2006

This is the second in a series of guest posts by Kelli Donley. She will be joining me for another week. Thanks, Kelli!

The biggest threat to global health is war. There is nothing like violence to promote infectious disease, destroy years of back-breaking ground work, to demolish a country’s health care system within a matter of moments.
This is not a post dissuading you from believing in the importance of fighting for the underdog. There have been plenty of instances when minorities were being killed because the majority was, well, the majority. However, as a public health worker, I cannot approve of war. I cannot support war. I do not believe in war.
Call me naïve or indulgent or privileged. You’d be right on all accounts. I’m thankful to have grown up in the comforts of American suburbia without the worry of bombs dropping on my home or my water source being positioned. I don’t think I knew the word “genocide” until I reached college. This is a privileged life indeed.
As an adult, I’ve seen what war and war’s aftermath cause. They promote resentment, greed, jealous and hate among men. They turn families, neighbors, friends against each other. Wars by definition are destructive. I am a strong believer that while conversation and debate are often more difficult, resolution can be achieved to all of the world’s problems.
Imagine if we were using even ¼ of the resources spent in Iraq to promote AIDS prevention in Africa? Or to create fresh, clean drinking water sources for the billions in India? Or to teach our fellow Americans how to cook for themselves, exercise and life healthy lives?
The world would certainly be a better place. The state of Iraq today? I’m not certain it is a better place than it was before our most recent invasion. Today, I pray for peace – for the public’s health internationally.

Posted in Guest Bloggers | 3 Comments »

Dec. 9 RESULTS Meeting Summary

Posted by chads on December 9, 2006

For some background information on RESULTS, see here

Paul Loeb was the invited speaker. A few quotes:

“It shouldn’t be a Utopian goal that children don’t go hungry.”

“The resources aren’t available? Simply not true. We do have a choice.”

The importance of getting individuals involved for life (as opposed to for just one project) was discussed.

We are planning on meeting with our senators and representatives this next month regarding global health and poverty. The next RESULTS meeting will be on January 13. We hope you’ll join us! I will place updates here.

Posted in RESULTS | Leave a Comment »

RESULTS Meeting Change of Location

Posted by chads on December 8, 2006

This week’s RESULTS meeting will actually be held at 730 Tanner Bldg, on BYU campus (7th floor). Hope to see you there!

Posted in Announcements, RESULTS | Leave a Comment »

The Question of What is Appropriate

Posted by chads on December 5, 2006

This is the first of several posts by Kelli Donley. She will be joining me for about 2 weeks. For more about Kelli, see here. Thanks for joining me, Kelli!

I’ve worked with Chad in Mozambique. We are both volunteers/health care workers/concerned people interested in doing something to improve the state of health in this far-from-home country. While Chad is a doctor in middle-America, I work for a small non-profit in Phoenix. We are privately funded and specifically do not have any programs concerning family planning or sexual practices.
It’s just too “political.”
As a small non-profit, it is difficult to take a moral stand on an issue such as birth control when you know you’ll isolate so many people (read: donors) who could help you tackle other important health issues that also need some attention. During my first trip to Mozambique, I was determined to gather information to change my boss’s mind about this topic. I wanted condom distribution. I wanted sex-education courses for women and girls. I wanted family planning courses. I wanted every tool possible to slow the fiery rates of HIV storming across the Mozambican plains.
This lasted until I landed in Beira – a large port city 1,000 miles north of the nation’s capital, Maputo. Then I saw it with my own eyes. There is no lack of knowledge about condoms in Beira, nor a lack of supply. There are condoms in the streets, the markets, the shops, the restaurants, the hotels and even hanging from the arms of young girls – their plastic rims used as colorful bracelets and signs of defiance. It wasn’t that people here didn’t have condoms, or didn’t understand their use. It was that they had decided not to use them – a problem I hadn’t had two seconds to consider. I realized naively that I wouldn’t be responsible for bringing condoms or sex education to Mozambique. These had arrived a long time ago.
I’ve been to Moz twice. Both times I had native people tell me that condoms were endorsed because the white man didn’t want the black to enjoy sex. It is startling to come from a PC American culture and have others put things in such terms: white vs. black.
I had women tell me they didn’t have the power to tell their lover that they must use protection. I had both men and women tell me they didn’t want to be tested because they simply couldn’t have “the sickness.” Chad and I both saw men and women dying in their homes because their families didn’t want them tested, didn’t want to be associated with the stigma, didn’t want to address the bone-thin bodies grasping for breath in the corner.
Public health is entirely about behavior change. How do we encourage people to make healthier choices, whether this is to prevent obesity in America, malaria in Brazil or AIDS in Mozambique?
Leading by example is the first step. Finding community leaders who belief in your mission is the next. Finding a compassionate and charming spokesperson helps too.
Have you made changes in your daily routine to improve your health? Why did you decide to do this? What was your motivation?

Posted in Guest Bloggers | 4 Comments »

BYU’s MPH program

Posted by chads on December 1, 2006

Disclosure: I have no connection with BYU, or its MPH program (indeed, I’m an MPH student at a different school).

BYU has recently admitted its fifth class into its MPH (Masters of Public Health) program. The program’s emphasis is to

Promote community and family-centered health by training public health professionals to strategically plan, implement, and evaluate health promotion solutions that improve health and well-being. Emphasis is placed on reducing preventable diseases, injuries, and health disparities among under-served or at-risk populations in both domestic and international settings.

There are various professors and students involved in global health (this list is by no means comprehensive.):

Dr. Rob Clark (MPH Alumnus, 2006) was awarded the 2006 Student Award of International Health through the American Public Health Association. Dr. Clark was acknowledged for the outstanding quality of his paper, “Addressing asphyxia: A simplified skill-based approach to resuscitation training.” Reviewers recognized that “his assessment of the training was rigorous: and received the award in Boston, November 2006.

Kirk Dearden has extensive experience in global health projects, including nutrition, microcredit, and positive deviance.

Eugene Cole currently works with on a project with community advocacy and support for HIV-positive women in South Africa.

Steven Hawks has an interest in global malnutrition.

Len Novilla teaches international health and has experience in the Philippines.

Posted in Global Health and Mormonism | Leave a Comment »

World’s AIDS Day and the LDS Church

Posted by chads on December 1, 2006

Today is World’s AIDS Day, an opportunity for “people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV and AIDS.”

Last year, Elder Robert C. Oaks gave an interview about the Church’s response to HIV/AIDS. He said:

The AIDS pandemic is an everyday reality in Africa. We didn’t have to persuade anyone that this is a horrendous societal and personal health problem. The people we worked with were hungry for answers. When we started to pull these materials together, people working on this issue had begun to see from their own statistics that the “safe sex” approach of explicit education and free condom distribution wasn’t working. They were looking for a better answer, and the best answer is found in gospel principles of morality, strong families and understanding who we are as Heavenly Father’s children.

I will soon post (Q&A) the best data answering the following questions:

-How effective is condom distribution in reducing HIV prevalence in Africa?
-How effective are abstinence campaigns in reducing HIV prevalence in Africa?

(Please note that my purpose is not to analize the Chruch’s programs. Indeed, the most effective public health intervention may not be the “best answer,” to borrow Elder Oak’s words, especially from an eternal, spiritual perspective. My purpose is to simply answer public health questions using the best evidence.)

Posted in Global Health and Mormonism, HIV/AIDS | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Scheduled Events

Posted by chads on December 1, 2006

I will be updating upcoming global-health related events and announcements at the “Announcements and Events” link at the top of this page.

I am convinced that social change comes about when people of different backgrounds with varied talents unite for a common cause, that “who you know is more important than what you know.” So, I’d like to get to know people, communicate, and collaborate. One way is through this blog. Here are a few other ideas for those of you that live close to Provo, Utah: (If you live elsewhere, perhaps you can organize get-togethers for people interested in global health!)

-“Global health Monday morning jog.” I will be jogging for 30 minutes every Monday morning at 6am, starting at the Richards Building at BYU. I will be starting on December 11, and will also be there on the 18th. I hope you’ll join me!

-Every 3 months some friends and I will be meeting for an informal, ethnic dinner, as well as discussion about global health. Our first meeting will be in early January; more details to follow… We hope you’ll join us!

-As noted here, our RESULTS group meeting the second Saturday of the month at 2198 JFSB (new building west of the library at BYU). The next meeting is on December 9.

Posted in Announcements | 1 Comment »

Welcome, Kelli!

Posted by chads on December 1, 2006

I’d like to introduce Kelli Donley, who will be blogging with me for the next two weeks. Kelli Donley is a public health worker in Phoenix, Az with the organization Esperanca. I have worked with her on projects in Mozambique, and have been impressed by her optimism and enthusiasm. Her passion is helping improve the health of women. She currently manages health projects in four countries. Current interests include scabies prevention in Mozambique, midwife training in Nicaragua and Chagas prevention in Bolivia. Kelli has her masters in public health from the University of Arizona and can be reached at: africankelli@gmail.com. She blogs at: www.africankelli.com.

Thanks for joining me, Kelli, and welcome!

Posted in Guest Bloggers | 2 Comments »