Collateral Damage

I got roughly a 50% on the Health Equity Quiz. I found the first question about where America’s life expectancy stood in comparison to other countries the most surprising, especially when I saw which countries were ahead of us. I always thought we were one of the highest. However I suppose if you think about how many obese Americans there are, these dangerous diseases, caused by poor diet and lack of exercise, start so seem a lot more hazardous to the public. This could explain why the life expectancy is down. as a whole, we are pretty unhealthy.

The episode “Collateral Damage” from Unnatural Causes, discussed the living conditions of people native to the Marshall Islands. The main island, less than a square mile and home to nearly 10,00 people has rates of Tuberculosis twenty-three times as high as the United States. Because so many of the inhabitants on the island are too poor to get to the hospital, there are people whose job is to make sure they take their medicine each day. TB is so prevalent in the Marshallese people because of their extreme levels of poverty, which causes most of the island malnourished. The video talks about how malnourishment is the key to TB, because it lowers the peoples ability to fight off the disease. Sadly TB is not the only disease to trouble the Marshallese people. There are many other diseases typical of poor urban areas.

This was not always common for the Marshallese. Before that, they hunted their own food and were self sustaining until the US came in. We saw the island as a crucial base, and worked to keep it to our selves. We moved most people off the island and to this day make most Marshallese commute there to work. Today there is a huge socioeconomic status difference between the island the base is found on and the island most of the Marshallese live on. The Marshallese experience malnutrition,  water shortage, and many other hazardous conditions. Next, the episode talks about the 68 nuclear weapons that were set off causing radiation poisoning and the death of hundreds of Marshallese natives. We may not see the complete results of the United States actions for years; what the U.S. did to these people is quite horrible. There are absolutely non genetic factors that effect the Marshallese people. In fact, I believe all of their troubles are a result of what the U.S. forced them to do. Their lives are completely different than the way they would have been had the U.S. not interfered.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. pucket10 says:

    This is an interesting summary of the video “collateral damage” as you represented the Marshallese well with regards to how new development and urbanization can have such a great impact on these natives. I do believe that there are solutions to some of these disparities, however there are also things such as the hazardous living conditions that could be more difficult to resolve. If there was funding provided for the Marshallese in order to seek medical attention for those in critical need and more importantly, a sustainable potable water source and accessible food supply, these factors could greatly improve their health. This solution is both political and economical as if there were sustainable food and water sources, it would aid the Marshallese to become self sustained once again and jump start an economical base for them. Although this would most likely be a difficult and slow process, nonetheless it would have significant outcomes in restoring health and a sense of self worth to these people native to the island. This would also help to remove the imbalance of socioeconomic status and possibly create a more developed community as a whole since the Marshallese (and not just the United States) would be involved in the economy. Unfortunately, it seems that most of these options are not exactly plausible as the United States has more or less taken control of the whole island as well as resources and political power. However, this does not mean these developing areas should keep being ignored, widening the status gap of the Marshallese.

  2. mackin24 says:

    I agree with your point of view concerning the documentary “Collateral Damage”. I believe the Americans should have offered more funding and care to these people so that their country had more support in development and urbanization aspects. I believe this solution is both economical and political. If America had contributed more to the development and sustainment of this country they would have been able to get on their feet enough to grow their own crops and become a functional society. Once the country has had enough support, money, and time given by our government they could then learn how to properly run things on their own. Overall a better environment and developing society with U.S. support would lead to better health amongst their people. I believe the locals, doctors and government should all be involved in helping developing areas such as these to become a fully functioning society with proper nutrition provided and healthcare. The potential pros are that these people would benefit hugely in their health and nutrition circumstances. The possible cons are that it takes a lot of government funding and participation from the government, which is not easy to keep consistent. They may also need to find volunteers to go over there because the U.S. may not be in a financial standpoint to pay people to travel over there and help.

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