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By: Madison Lee

We have now entered year two of the Trump Administration and we continue to see where the President’s values and priorities lie. On February 12, 2018 President Trump’s White House released their second budget proposal, this time for the 2019 fiscal year 6. As seen in the 2018 budget proposal, the President continues to strive for greater defense and border control spending while slashing the budgets of U.S. foreign aid programs 6. It is very clear from the proposed budget that the President is unconcerned about the programs and organizations that rely on US money to continue their work in some of the most undeveloped and under-resourced places in the world. HIV/AIDS is an area of work that would be highly affected by the proposed cuts and over 40 organizations, including Partners in Health and the ONE Campaign, have spoken out about the negative effects the cuts would have 1,4.

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By: Emily Kirwin

The first time I heard about the rising maternal mortality rate (MMR) in the United States, was after Serena Williams’ birth, and this story about a family struggling to cope after a new mother died after childbirth:

While it is no surprise to learn that black women are 3 to 4 times as likely as white women to die during childbirth, it was shocking to me to learning that 700 U.S. women do not survive to the next day with their newborn (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). In 2000, the United Nations signed a document declaring to improve maternal health worldwide by the year 2015 (World Health Organization, 2018). Since then, many countries – both lower income and higher income – have decreased their MMR drastically. However, the United States has observed an increase of maternal deaths from 23 in 2005 to about 28 maternal deaths per 100,000 births (Tavernise, 2016). A majority these deaths were preventable (Martin & Montagne, 2017).

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By: Timothy Jennings

Japan’s healthcare system is often touted as one of the best in the world. They have one of the highest life expectancies, one of the lowest maternal mortality rates, and the second lowest infant mortality rate. Japan accomplishes this with relatively low healthcare expenditure per capita and a national insurer, known as the Statutory Health Insurance System, which provides universal primary coverage. It is thus exciting to hear about new treatments coming out of this world class system. In a recently published Forbes article, it was announced that Xofluza, a new influenza treatment, was approved in Japan. The groundbreaking factor about this drug is that it has been shown to kill the flu virus in 24 hours in clinical trials in both Japanese and American patients. This was compared to three days for the standard treatment of Tamiflu. The pharmaceutical company responsible, Shionogi, claims that this will reduce transmission of influenza and limit morbidity and mortality from the illness. Because of this, Xofluza has been given fast-tracked approval in Japan and should be released later this year. In the United States and other countries, additional approval is required with estimates of a 2019 release.

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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: Victoria Gao 

Once every four years, countries around the world get ready for the Winter Olympics, a multi-sport event where athletes compete against each other to show the world who is best. Amidst the rivalry between nations, they all share one common opponent, the dreaded common cold.

This year’s flu season has been extraordinarily bad. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), out of 100,000 hospitalizations in the US, 22.7 were for the flu only in the first week of January. On the other hand, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), there were 1,250 confirmed flu cases in South Korea between December 4 and January 28. The number of flu cases exceed the CDC’s threshold and is considered an epidemic almost every year. So, what makes the flu this bad? The flu virus is an airborne virus and with so many athletes coming together in one area to celebrate the sports, it will be extremely difficult to stop the virus from spreading. There would be more people and therefore more chances for the flu to transmit from person to person. PyeongChang would become a paradise for the virus.

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By: Brittany Foushee

Race in the United States has always been a hot topic of its time. From policy reform, to shifts in social attitudes, race and racism have been a systemic issue in this country. Historically, one may say that America has yet to get it right when it comes to social equity and equality amongst races in this country. However, when looking at the differences between this country’s history and the present day, others may say America is not too shabby in race equality. In 2011 Pew Research Center surveyed a population of Americans to answer the question “how big a problem is racism in our society today? Is it a big problem, a small problem, or not a problem at all?”. Results showed that 8% of Americans believe race is not a problem at allFOOTNOTE: Footnote. Comparing this percentage to another theory, when asked in a survey conducted by Public Policy Polling in 2013, 14% of Americans believe Big Foot existsFOOTNOTE: Footnote. Americans are nearly twice as likely to believe in a mythological creature than to believe race is a problem in this country. Seeing the denial of racism in America, we can begin to see how race can play a major factor in policy and health outcomes. In a study conducted in 2008 by Gallup surveying Black and White Americans on their perception of life expectancy for Black Americans, 33% of white Americans said race is not at all a factor in life expectancy for Black Americans, while only 13% of Black Americans stated the sameFOOTNOTE: Footnote. When comparing widespread beliefs and misconceptions regarding race and health in America, as well as analyzing data and statistics regarding disease and health disparities amongst racial groups, we can begin to see the issue at hand is systemic and requires more than a simple quick fix to compensate for.

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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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