Utah Valley Global Health Group

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

Archive for March, 2008

Millions of Children Die Needlessly

Posted by chads on March 31, 2008

The following was published as an editorial in today’s Daily Herald Newspaper.

Nearly 10 million children die each year before reaching their fifth birthday, and the saddest part is that most of those deaths are quite predictable, easily preventable, and utterly treatable. While it is true that some children worldwide die of incurable cancers, tragic accidents, or unpredictable natural disasters, most do not. Nor do they die of diseases like AIDS, avian flu, and SARS, conditions which get most of the media attention. Most children die, year after year after year, of diseases that we in developed countries either don’t see anymore because they are systematically prevented, or aren’t even consider life-threatening. Pneumonia, diarrhea and complications during childbirth are currently responsible for nearly three-quarters of all of these deaths. Measles, tetanus, and malaria are also significant contributors to child mortality. Of course, millions more children live with these diseases and suffer needlessly.

Recent scientific studies show that 60 percent of those children’s lives could be saved by inexpensive, proven interventions. For example, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was a major donor in the Measles Initiative, a vaccine campaign that has decreased the number of deaths due to measles by 500,000 in just six years! Other simple interventions — such as a simple salt solution for dehydration, sleeping under insecticide-treated mosquito nets to prevent malaria, and breast feeding infants — are also highly effective at saving children’s lives.

What can an ordinary citizen do? Usually the reaction after reading these overwhelming numbers is to think that one cannot make a difference, but it is quite easy to help to save the lives of children. We at the Utah Valley Global Health Group are ordinary citizens who have taken it upon ourselves to learn and to act in small but meaningful ways. It does not take much time and one can make a significant difference with little or no money.

There are a number of ways to get involved in global child survival right here in Utah Valley, including BYU’s first “Mother, Newborn, and Child Health Conference” on Friday. This year the conference will focus on family-based solutions to health challenges.

Also, the Utah Valley Global Health Group is sponsoring an informal dinner and discussion about child survival on May 28. RESULTS, a nonprofit grassroots advocacy organization committed to ending poverty, has a local chapter that meets regularly. In addition, versions of the U.S. Commitment to Global Child Survival Act of 2007 are currently being considered in the House and the Senate. Writing your senator or congressman can help.

We know what kills children, and we also know what works to save many of those lives. UNICEF’s 2008 “State of the World’s Children” declares, “The means are at hand. It is now a question of will and of action — for there is no enterprise more noble, or reward more precious than saving the life of a child.” We agree, and we hope you’ll join us. Details about all of the activities mentioned above can be found at https://globalhealth.wordpress.com. You can make a difference.

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Posted in Announcements, Child Survival, Utah Valley Global Health Group | 7 Comments »

Thoughts on Child Mortality from Andrea Peacock

Posted by benjamincrookston on March 30, 2008

 This is the first in a series of posts from students in a BYU Global Health class.

 I remember the first time I learned that diarrhea could kill people. I was reading an article in the NYT about painkillers being banned in Sierra Leone because of concerns about drug-related crime. The statement I read wasn’t even in the same vein as the rest of the article. It just mentioned in passing that the leading cause of death among children there was dehydration from diarrhea. I started crying in front of all my co-workers. And I wanted everyone to see.

I wanted them to ask me why I was crying.

That was really the impetus for my resolution to do more. And I think that moment was half the battle. Because hearing something like that should make anyone angry enough or curious enough or sad enough or astonished enough to do something. If anything, learning more about global health has shown me that getting people talking; getting people to hear, is a big step. I think it encourages the cooperation and collaboration that I’ve learned is so critical for public health to succeed. We need people from politics, from economics, from anthropology, from sociology, from statistics, from business, and others to talk about it! It may not change the world, but it does foment some kind of action—even if it is just telling someone else about it.

Andrea Peacock

Posted in Guest Bloggers, Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

Three Cups of Tea

Posted by benjamincrookston on March 30, 2008

I just finished this book (http://www.threecupsoftea.com/). It is a very interesting read and well worth the time!

Posted in Book Reviews | Leave a Comment »

3rd Informal Global Health Dinner: Child Survival

Posted by chads on March 18, 2008

Mark your calendars: May 28 from 5:30-7:30pm, the Utah Valley Global Health Group will sponsor the third informal global health dinner. The topic of discussion is:

 Child Survival:  Why do nearly 10 million children die each year, and what can we do about it?

Committed speakers, and tentative topics for discussion include:

 Chad Swanson: ER physician, MPH student:  “Overview of Child Survival:  2003 Lancet series, and progress toward the Millennium Development Goals.”

Jini Robi:  Lawyer, BYU Social Work Professor, and Child Advocate:  “Health of Orphans Globally”

Rob Clark, MD, MPH, Physician:  “Neonatal Resuscitation:  An Overview of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints’ Program”

Ben Crookston, MPH, PhD student in global public health at the University of Utah:  “Child Survival:  Experiences from the field”

More details to follow; we hope you’ll join us!  RSVP here:  unacceptableglobalhealth at gmail.com

Posted in Announcements, Utah Valley Global Health Group | 1 Comment »

Presidential Race and Global Health

Posted by chads on March 15, 2008

Want to know what Clinton, McCain, or Obama have to say about global health? Check this site out.

Posted in Links, News | 2 Comments »

18 annual BYU Hunger Banquet

Posted by chads on March 11, 2008

The 18th annual BYU Hunger Banquet will be held this Friday and Saturday, 6p-8p. Highly recommended. Details here and here.

Posted in Announcements, BYU Clubs | 1 Comment »