This is a must watch video presented by TED featuring the winner of one of the prestigious TED prizes, Mr. James Nachtwey. Nachtwey is one of the most famous war photographers in the world, having documented several of the most important recent conflicts of our time. In this video, however, Nachtwey focuses on one issue that has become his most pivotal- the fight against tuberculosis and the development of multi-drug resistant TB.
I worked in a large HIV/TB clinic and the infectious disease ward of a public government hospital in Kampala, Uganda where I saw several patients suffering from these illnesses, but the pictures that Nachtwey has taken were shocking even to me. Literal skeletons. This is a must watch video– it is one man’s global cry for support, awareness, research, and action. His photographs and the full scope of the movement against XDR-TB can be found here. I highly recommend it, both from the perspective of a future physician and a current photographer. Nachtwey is innovating a new field, one I would deem “health photography”, that has the potential to start major movements for global health.
Dr. Sherry Wren, a Professor of General Surgery at Stanford School of Medicine, answers this question as she advocates for the addition of surgical care as a major facet in the global health dialogue.
Dr. Wren bullet points the following facts that elucidate the scope of inequity in access to surgical care worldwide:
234 million surgeries are done worldwide per year- only 3.5% of those are done in low income countries
90% of deaths from physical injury, avertable by surgical intervention, occur in low income countries
2 billion people worldwide (for perspective, the US population is 313 million) have no basic access to surgical care
30% of the world’s population receives 75% of the world’s operations, mostly in high income countries
The # of operations are 7x greater than the # of HIV infections (~34 million) in the world [note: while I believe it is important to compare the magnitude of diseases, it is only to emphasize the importance of surgery and not to downplay the importance of HIV)
Surgery is not explicitly part of the Millennium Development Goals, despite playing a large role in two of the goals, Improving Maternal Health and Reduction of Child Mortality Continue reading →
The short documentary above describes efforts by citizens of Georgetown, the capital of Guyana (South America), to battle a Lymphatic Filariasis (LF) problem caused by the city’s underdeveloped sanitation and water filtration systems that are drawing in mosquitos. Continue reading →
I saw this video yesterday as part of a PEPFAR presentation at UCLA, and it was the first time in a while that I felt inspired. The unbelievably visible impact that ARV treatment can have on a patient is truly motivating and a reminder of the immense progress that we have made against the epidemic over the last 2 decades. Also, I think this video is an example of the indispensable potential that social media has on motivating support for healthcare for the poor.
The Cove is a 2010 Academy Award winning documentary which I watched a few months ago. It exposes cruel dolphin hunting practices in the small Japanese town of Taiji and it follows the efforts of Ric O’ Barry, a former dolphin trainer who in the 1970s actually captured and trained the dolphins used in the TV show Flipper. He had a change of opinion regarding dolphin captivity through his experiences which led him to declare that dolphins are unable to be happy in captivity. Much of the endeavor required secret filming which shows in graphic detail the gruesome harpooning of several thousand dolphins that are lured and trapped in a small cove every year from September to April. Continue reading →
A large meta-analysis study published in the prestigious JAMA on January 2nd explored the association between various grades of obesity and all-cause mortality. 97 total studies were included in the final analysis, covering over 2.88 million patients and over 270,000 deaths. Continue reading →
Indeed American medicine of 1980 has little resemblance to that of today. In 1980 the pharmaceutical industry did not promote its products on television. It was also a time when medicines were often introduced in other nations before they were in the United States, in part because the FDA spent more time making sure they were safe before agreeing they could be sold. It was also a time when most medical research was done by academic or government scientists with few ties to the pharmaceutical industry.
Today Americans regularly try out new medicines before anyone else in the world. The pharmaceutical industry controls most medical research in the United States. And Americans frequently take medications even when they suffer no real illness. Many have come to believe the industry’s claim that utopia can be encapsulated.
The excerpt above is from Melody Petersen’s book, Our Daily Meds, a thoroughly researched, well-written and outstandingly daring account of the malpractice pervasive in the American pharmaceutical industry. Continue reading →
My time researching intergenerational prostitution (IGP) near New Delhi, India is coming to what I might think of as both an ending and beginning. Recently, my students (they are not involved in IGP*) and I culminated our regular dance classes with a performance for their community. Present were some of the women engaged in IGP as well as staff members of various local NGOs and visitors from America and elsewhere. I had been teaching the girls bhangra, a traditional Indian folk dance which is historically performed only by males (females typically dance giddah). However, partly to reinforce an ideology which I believe in and partly because I’m utterly incapable of dancing giddah, my students learned bhangra with the conviction that men and women are both capable of equal accomplishment and participation in all aspects of life.
I recently watched the movie Bol by Pakistani director Shoaib Mansoor and was quite impressed by it’s ability to entertain while simultaneously and powerfully presenting several social issues flagrant in South Asia. The title “Bol” is a Hindi/Urdu command meaning “Speak” or “Speak Out” and refers to the movie’s main message, which is that women’s voices need to be heard (ideally by the legal system), and that anachronistic and androcentric oppression must end. While this sounds cliche, the movie doesn’t make it feel that way. Continue reading →
It’s been slightly over two months since Kony 2012 (I was going to hyperlink to it, but realized, if you haven’t seen it yet, you probably don’t have internet) first awed, inspired, angered, and exhausted different parts of the world. I was one of the 80 million+ people who saw the film (and blogged about it), and I’m one of probably a few thousand who are wondering what is going on now with the campaign. Continue reading →