Shocked. Motivated to change. Compassionate. Eager. These words describe my reaction to the videos we viewed this afternoon regarding the plight of patients in underprivileged areas like Ghana. Nevertheless, many of the problems exemplified by the Peace and Love Hospital in Ghana mirror some experiences that even American patients face; I think such detrimental experiences come as a result of ignorance and indifference by some healthcare professionals toward patients. These situations have prompted me to personally enter the medical field. Rather than just prescribe medications or order surgeries, I desire to directly impact and improve the physical, emotional, and spiritual lives of patients by utilizing knowledge that I have received, experiences that I have treasured, and analytical skills that I have developed. It’s pretty amazing to think that even though I won’t be doing chemistry during a surgery or calculus when I’m helping a patient, this base of knowledge and learning to critically develop a necessary skill set will help me influence others. What an amazing thought it is for healthcare professionals to get up each morning and dedicate the next 24 hours to improving the wellbeing of others!
On a varying note, I think that it is detrimental for the U.S. healthcare industry or professionals to forcefully impose their will on other communities and societies. Such imposition bring remnants of colonization into my mind; colonization should not be the face of global health. Rather, when healthcare providers collaboratively work with local doctors through a comprehensive, mutually-respected relationship, optimal care can be provided for patients in need. In such situations, a thorough understanding of the local customs and culture is key, once again, to best serving the needs of individuals. When unruly healthcare professionals step in without consideration for the societal situation (macroscopic) or an individual situation (microscopic), it would have been more beneficial if they had remained estranged from their lofty ambition. What the world needs is more caring, eager, motivated, and empathetic health professionals who are willing to cooperate, willing to learn, and willing to be both right and wrong in various situations. Only through this mindset can our global healthcare system continue to progress for all people.