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Archive for the ‘Health and Human Rights’ Category

By: Stephanie Martinez

Last summer I travelled to Europe for the first time and spent my time in Italy. I had created an image of a beautiful, seemingly perfect country in my mind because of stories heard through friends, or as seen on movies and television. Indeed, the landscape and the architecture surpassed my expectations, but the many migrants I saw begging or sleeping under crippling buildings took me by surprise. I had heard about the growing humanitarian crisis in Europe but seeing it firsthand helped me understand the concerns as highlighted in the news. I have visited Developing countries such as El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Guatemala in the past but had not encountered these same circumstances there. It was alarming to see how much more attention was given to ancient monuments and not the present existence of migrants who were suffering. I stayed in a quiet street outside of downtown Rome and only ten minutes away, there were migrants living in what can only be described as slums. At night, tents or cardboard materials were used as beds just outside the train station.

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By: Pei-Hsuan Li

Kari Whitehead started to gradually notice something different about her daughter, Emily. Not long after seeing purple bruises on her legs, bleeding gums, bloody noses, and severe leg pains, Emily was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) on May 28, 2010 when she was only five years old.

Emily received the standard treatment for ALL but relapsed after 16 months. Fortunately for the Whitehead’s, news appeared of a new and innovative drug called Kymriah. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the opening of the chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell trial early. Emily became Patient 1 of the Phase 1 trial. Now she is 12 years old, and she has remained in complete remission since her seventh birthday. Last year, oFollowing Kymriah, on October 18, 2017, Yescarta, a treatment for adult non-Hodgkin lymphoma developed by Kite Pharma, was approved as the second FDA-approved gene therapy. Price listed: $373,000.

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By: Morgan Duffney

Today, when we watch cable news and see the banner ‘Crisis in Pakistan’ shoot across the television screen, a few thoughts and fears come to mind: terrorism, political instability, and loosely controlled nuclear weapons. What no one ever thinks about is the public health disaster currently looming over the country, which is already in a fragile state. What never appears on a breaking news banner on Fox News or CNN, but does appear on the front pages of Pakistan Today is that in Pakistan, an estimated . The inability to treat contaminated water, supply its citizens with this basic necessity to live, and stem the tide of human suffering is not only a problem faced by the Pakistani government, but is currently a global public health crisis.

Pakistan is just one country out of the many throughout the world currently struggling to relieve the suffering of their people and resolve this public health emergency. To put this crisis into a global perspective, as of 2014, the United Nations estimated that 2.5 billion people receive their drinking water from sources without improved sanitation, with roughly two million tons of sewage and other pollutants entering the world’s water system each day. Without an adequate response and action on the part of public health organizations throughout the world, the future looks quite bleak; as the World Health Organization (WHO) now predicts that by 2025 half of the world’s population will live in “water-stressed areas” (2017).

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By : Anthony DePinto

 

The threat of global warming and changing weather patterns is something that has been in the public eye for decades now. For many the issue of climate change is seen as a distant problem, but for the people of Cape Town, the issue is a lot more relevant.

Over the past few weeks in Cape Town — the second largest city in South Africa, an expanding tech center for the African continent with a fairly large economy of its own — has been facing imminent threat of “Day Zero.” This doomsday title is given to the day in which municipal water sources will be shut off and the residents will no longer have public access to water. To provide some context, the Western Cape province of South Africa had recently experienced an abnormally long period of drought and as a result are faced with a severe water shortage. “Level 6b” water restrictions have been in place for weeks, instructing the residents of Cape Town to limit their consumption of water to 50 L per day per person; to put this into perspective, a 2-minute shower could use up to 20L of water.

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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: Anonymous Student

I received my first medical bill in 2014. The cost of an ambulance and one blood sample amounted to roughly five thousand dollars. I was ‘diagnosed’ with dehydration. Given that I am an international student, my school assumed I would need insurance nine out of twelve months during a year since I spend every summer in my home country, Italy.

In retrospect, while in Italy, I had a constitutional guarantee to access medical care free of charge. With my healthcare card, namely, Tessera Sanitaria, I did not pay for doctor visits, or the prescribed pills that I would get from the nearby pharmacy. Technically speaking, my parents did pay into the system through their taxes, but it was only a small portion of their monthly income. Contrary, now that I live in the United States, not only do I expend on an excessively costly insurance, but I also pay for co-pays and debatable fees that should be covered by my insurer in the first place. The bill I received that one summer, was not an act of discrimination brought out because I am a foreigner; it was a problem that, before the Affordable Care Act, also affected all the “46.3 million [of uninsured] American adults.” (Reinberg) So why do two developed countries differ so much when it comes to taking care of their citizens’ health?

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By Anjali Oberoi

A man on the Madrid Metro with a toddler on his lap shifted, listening to the unfamiliar dialect as I recounted the events of my week to my mom over the phone in whispered Hindi. When the train entered the station, he shot me a glare before standing up to leave. As he rushed past me he pulled his toddler tightly closer to his chest. I don’t look like a Spaniard.

His marked disapproval reflects a shift throughout Europe as humanitarian crisis sweeps the continent. The world currently faces the largest refugee crisis since World War II, as conflicts around the globe continue and worsen1. (more…)

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