Global Health

Global Health

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.

4 thoughts on “Global Health

  1. I have the same feeling of motivation to change. Something in this video that also made me feel very shocked is the “fake” healers that claim they can cure cancer. I think this stems from lack of education on one’s health and unfortunately, people who are curable may die because of this.

    Furthermore, the fact that the “best” healthcare in that town was the Peace and Love hospital makes me very fortunate for American health care. And even though you may be correct that incorrect prescriptions may happen in the United States, I’m sure it’s at a much lower rate. The video make me truly appreciate the health care I have access to.

    This video also made me think about my HSSP observation which was with a surgical oncologist. Almost all of the patients I saw had some form of cancer. The facilities here were much more advanced and professional than they appeared in the video. Also, the doctor I observed never told any patient he didn’t know what they had and he never prescribed medication that was unnecessary.

  2. I cannot agree with you more about the idea of the U.S. healthcare industry or professionals forcefully imposing their will on other communities and societies being detrimental because even though the U.S. healthcare has good intentions in their minds that doesn’t mean they have the right to take over other countries’ ways of curing and preventing sickness in their countries. A way U.S. healthcare can definitely help these countries, who might not know the proper techniques that we know and use, is to teach them and donate funds, so they’ll have much higher advanced resources to work with that will eventually improve their health care system.

  3. These videos also inspired me to seek out change in corrupt healthcare systems like the one is Ghana. Before watching this journalistic piece I had considered entering the medical field and trying to do something to improve the state of health care of people in places that are less affluent than the ones we live in, and after witnessing the injustice this desire was reaffirmed and strengthened. I was genuinely shocked by the way the women in Ghana were being taken advantage of by the Peace and Love Hospital. This institution took the fears of women and exploited them as well as compromised their well-being by prescribing unneeded drugs. While I’m not quite sure exactly how I will do this yet, I know that I want to use the medical education that I hope to get in order to better the lives of these people.

    Relating this back to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s talk about not defining someone by a single story, I think that the people being effected by the Peace and Love Hospital need to stop being seen as victims of poverty and instead be seen as individuals with different goals. I think that this will help inspire healthcare professionals to take steps to truly improve the situations of these people and help them get the healthcare they deserve.

  4. I was infuriated when I witnessed how much carelessness the Peace and Love Hospital in Ghana had in the videos. The overprescribing of medicines and uncertain diagnoses that they made is effectively their taking advantage of the ignorance of the people. Also, when I went to Bolivia this last summer on a mission trip, I saw a little bit of the disease and poverty stricken parts of the land which was a huge eye-opener to the blessings of the advanced health care we have here in the States. I agree with you when you say that the imperial approach to medicine in underprivileged communities should not be the face of global health. I think the way to help communities like these in Ghana and Bolivia is to educate both the people and the health care professionals who take care of these people. I have always been interested in practicing medicine, but this immersion has made me really want to seek out solutions or improvements to these problems in global health and may possibly turn into my future career in medicine.

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