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Archive for the ‘children’ Category

By: Sophie Mazur

Likely, you have all heard of malaria and its association to high mortality rates. However, most people have not heard of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) although it is the second most prevalent cause of death during infancy (RSViNetwork, n.d.). Unlike malaria, there is no effective treatment for RSV. Similar to many global health problems, the likelihood of serious disease and death due to this virus is compounded due to poverty, lack of access to proper treatment and care, and lack of awareness. As this virus continues to infect children globally at an alarming rate, we must direct attention towards educating families and health practitioners to identify the infection. As well as, prioritize efforts to cerate an effective and affordable vaccine and treatment.

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By: Mikas Hansen

The East African region has experienced a period of immense growth and development in the last ten years. Unfortunately, not all communities have benefitted to the same degree. A recent trip back to Nairobi, Kenya blew me away as the bustling, pot-holed, and integrated city I had once grown up in had developed into a paved, efficient, and organized metropolitan hub. I was excited for the nation and the progress it had made towards solving many of its historic political, medical, and economic issues. I was blinded by all of the positive influences that globalization had on the nation. However, a friend recently shared a YouTube documentary named “Zombies of Nairobi” which investigated the domestic drug scene and the reasons for its abuse. This documentary brought a point of realization to my initial outlook on the modernization of Kenya and inspired me to dig deeper and explore the underbelly of a city I once called home.

Though Kenya has managed to double its GDP in the past ten years, the main issue comes with economic inequality and the distribution of wealth across the population. The top 0.1% of the wealthiest individuals own more wealth than the next 99.9%. Furthermore, a massive influx of refugees from the Horn of Africa has even further increased the number of individuals living under the poverty line. As of 2016, 46% of the population lives under the poverty line, only 20% have access to medical coverage, and there is a 67% enrollment in primary education with illiteracy still rising. (“Kenya at a Glance”, 2016) The combination of these factors has led to a number of public health issues to arise, one of which being the abuse of vapor solvents.

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By: Tiffany Chen

Every minute, 5 babies around the world die. Each and every day, 7,000 newborn babies are dying from preventable causes. This totals up to 2.6 million a year. This month, UNICEF released a shocking report detailing the numbers of newborn babies around the world who are dying of preventable causes or are stillborn. Eighty percent of these deaths are a result of lack of affordable and quality health care delivered by people who are well-trained, as well as providing basic services like clean water and proper nutrition to the newborn and mother.

While the rate of mortality for children from 1 month to 5 years old continues to decrease on a global scale, the proportion of these deaths that are made up of newborns is growing larger and larger. UNICEF cites two major reasons for this pattern. First, because newborn mortality is often caused by prematurity, complications surrounding delivery, and infections, a system-wide approach is necessary to fully address them. These issues cannot be solved by a miracle pill or a simple treatment; they require a restructuring of the way that services are delivered and how the healthcare system functions. The second issue, according to UNICEF, is the lack of global focus on the issue of ending newborn mortality.

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-By Sarah Esselborn

The consequences of the devastating earthquake in Haiti on January 12, 2010 are still felt today. Specifically, the cholera outbreak brought by U.N. Peacekeepers from Nepal in October of 2010 has had serious effects on the people in Haiti (NBC News 2014). As of March of 2013, more than 650,000 cases had been identified and 7,441 deaths (Grandesso 2014). By contrast, in the United States, the average number of cholera cases per year is 6 (and these are non-fatal). I have spent time in Haiti, my last visit returning the day before this devastating earthquake. These Haitian people getting cholera and dying are people I deeply care for. I want to bring hope to this seemingly devastating situation. (more…)

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-By Katherine Storer

Video: 4 Shocking Facts about US Healthcare http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dqLdFFKvhH4

As someone with a chronic illness the healthcare system is something I’ve had a lot of experience with. Since I was 9 years old I’ve never walked away from a doctor’s appointment feeling anything other than frustration. I was always met with endless hours waiting for late doctors, copious amounts of obscure tests, and never-ending stares of disbelief. I had large co- pays for each useless visit, expensive prescriptions, uncovered tests, and never any answers. I always knew it was a flawed system, but I never quite understood why. (more…)

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-By Vidya Attaluri

About nine years ago I was introduced to and learned more about the concept of euthanasia after seeing it portrayed on a television show I was watching. As a young teen I had what may be an unexpected reaction in full support of the concept of euthanasia for those who are terminally ill and have full understanding of what their decision to participate in euthanasia means for both them and their loved ones. But how do you determine who is mature enough to make this decision? Should there be an age limit on who can participate or what illnesses can be considered to require euthanasia? Who gets to decide these things?

In a groundbreaking decision on February 13th, 2014 Belgium became the first country in the world to allow euthanasia for incurably ill children. I learned about the impactful new law through an article in the New York Times, “Belgium Close to Allowing Euthanasia for Ill Minors” by Dan Bilefsky. This article discussed the new law as well as the criticisms and reactions that followed its adoption. The law states that euthanasia would be allowed for terminally ill children that are close to death, experiencing “constant and unbearable suffering” and show a “capacity of discernment,” which would mean they understand the consequences of the decision to participate in euthanasia, as well as written consent from a legal guardian (Bilefsky, Year). In Europe, as compared to the United States, euthanasia has been a more widely accepted idea. Currently in the United States, as of January of 2014, euthanasia is banned nationwide but assisted dying, doctors prescribing a lethal dose of medication to terminally ill patients, is legal in Oregon, Washington, Montana, New Mexico, and Vermont. In Europe euthanasia is legal in The Netherlands, Luxembourg and in Switzerland assisted dying is legal. (more…)

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-By Nina Misra

In mid-December 2013, violence erupted in South Sudan, the world’s youngest country. The president, Salva Kiir, accused his former vice-president Riek Machar of planning to upstage the presidency. Kiir had eleven people associated with this planned coup arrested. Fighting first started in the capital, Juba, amongst Presidential guards. This conflict between Kiir and Machar turned into a war between ethnic groups. Kiir is somewhat followed by the Dinka people, while Machar is fully supported by the Nuer.  Machar says that “the conflict is not yet over”, and refuses to stop fighting until the eleven politicians are released from detention.  Machar says, “these are events of war”- events that include “extrajudicial killings, sexual violence, and massacres committed by both sides”. The death toll is unknown, and the violence unspeakable. The effects of the fighting are felt by all the citizens of South Sudan, even those who are not directly in the line of fire.  (more…)

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