Global Health

Global Health

I always knew that health care in some countries was far from the advanced health care we have here in the United States. However, it surprised me that so many women in Ghana were suffering from breast cancer and were not receiving proper care. Culture plays such a large role in how women receive their care, and that is something that must be considered. In Ghana faith healers are more popular than actual physicians. This is due to a fear of western medicine. I began to wonder why they were afraid. Is it due to the way that American’s impose themselves on other countries? Or reasons related to the wants and features of their culture? When we spoke about things we need to consider when walking into other communities, it really opened my eyes. So often we think were doing the right thing and what others want, but that may not always be the case. It is great that the United States wants to be helpful, but we need to be mindful of other cultures and customs before we get there. It seems that when this is accomplished, we can be the most impactful.

I also found it extremely upsetting that workers in the Peace and Love Hospital were lying to patients about having cancer and giving them unnecessary medication. Even in the United States we have seen cases were doctors have lied to patients about having cancer, and giving them chemotherapy drugs that caused more harm than good. I think this correlation is an important one to make because it shows that health care is not perfect anywhere, and is not always used for the peoples best interest.

My question to others is:

Do you believe that it is the United States responsibility to go into others health care systems and try to implement change? Or should the United States prevent from imposing and allow these cultures to carry on their health care systems in a way that they are comfortable?

5 thoughts on “Global Health

  1. Riana poses a very important, and very complex question here, one that has been debated for decades already, and I’m sure will continue to be a prominent issue in our society. While it is not necessarily the responsibility of the United States to try to fix the health care issues in other countries (especially when we have plenty of our own here at home), I think we can definitely do a lot of good. In order to truly aid other nations, though, we need to stop ourselves from going in with only our own ideas, remaining ignorant to the unique struggles that a particular location has.

    Developing countries, particularly in Africa and South America, get a lot of sympathy when it comes to healthcare. There are many organizations, charities, missions, etc. whose only goal is to bring what they see as improved standards of living – whether it be through healthcare, education, drinking water, or something else entirely. While these are all wonderful things that should definitely be implemented everywhere, we as outsiders need to recognize that we may not be the most well-informed and that there are others that will have a better grasp of the issues. It is our job as future healthcare professionals to recognize the places where we are lacking and partner with others to create a plan that would benefit populations effectively, both in the short-term, and more importantly in the long-term.

  2. I agree that intervening in health care systems of other countries is a very complex problem. I am very on the fence with this issue. I believe that at times the United States does overstep at times when assisting other countries in their health care systems. Often we struggle understanding the needs and customs of health care systems in cultures outside of our own, much like the TED talk we watched, we often have a single-story of these developing countries.
    On the other side, I do believe that countries such as America do offer amazing resources and assistance to countries in need. There are many times when these countries need help or intervention is necessary, for example if the citizens are not being provided with adequate health care or they are being treated unethically.
    The United States can be an excellent resource to developing countries and work as a middle-man in any kind of resolution. But, it is extremely important that Americans do not bring their egos with them to these countries and are careful to understand the host country’s actual needs.

  3. Although the United States has very advanced health care, it is not perfect. It is true that our health care has cured millions of people, but there are some negatives to it. As seen in the video, patients may not be told the full story and are forced to pay for unnecessary treatments. People not from the United States are aware that our health care can exhibit cruel and unfair methods, causing them to become fearful of it. In Ghana, the traditional methods are much more comfortable to the people there since it has always been a part of their custom. Despite the advanced health care that the United States provides, it is important for us to realize that it is not always what others desire.
    Overall, the health care in the United States is excellent and I would love to see it spread to other places to provide proper treatment to the sick, but the United States should not enforce their health care upon others. Although it is out of the goodness of our hearts to give everyone the opportunity to have amazing health care, we cannot look at situation from solely our own perspective. To us, it may seem as if we are the heroes by providing stellar treatments and curing the ill. However, to the people of that country we may be the villains due to stripping them of a respected custom. The United States should respect boundaries and honor the traditions of other countries.

  4. Riana you made really great points and had several opinions that I agreed with completely. I was also surprised that so many women in Ghana were suffering from breast cancer and were not receiving proper care. I knew it was a problem, but not one that affected mostly all of the women living in that community. It was interesting that they feared western medicine and put their trust in traditional methods. They trusted these traditional methods because if they went to a “doctor” in Ghana they would most likely remove one or both breast. In Ghana breast remover was socially unacceptable so they tried every way to try to avoid it. I believe the women and even the men in Ghana deserved better health care. They need more experienced, understanding and patient doctors that knows exactly what they are doing. Every individual deserves the best health care and Ghana does not have that in their community. This shows that health care is not perfect anywhere, everyone still has work to do. The question is who is willing to put in that strenuous, time consuming work?

  5. I do believe that the healthcare system in Ghana needs to be changed, but I think that we should allow that to happen from within Ghana itself. I think that the U.S. should educate Peace and Love hospital and its employees. By doing so, the patients there will receive better quality care and safer prescriptions. Afterward, once the breast cancer survival rates go up in Ghana as a result of the improved system in Peace and Love, maybe the people of Ghana will start to realize the value of modern medicine and slowly start to approach certified professionals instead of faith healers.

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