Place Matters

I did not do well on the health equity quiz, but seeing how other students did made me feel better about my (3/10) score. The most shocking to me is that the top 1% of American families owns more wealth than the bottom 90% combined. Are you kidding me? I cannot believe that’s even possible.

Asian Americans in Richmond today are struggling to control a tuberculosis outbreak. Due to social disparities, they cannot leave this town that has no access to healthy food and difficulty with retrieving water. Sometimes, they have to take a boat to get to safe water, which is pricey. Their bathrooms are in the public and are outrageously repulsive. With their immune systems already down in such tight quarters, they cannot help but have a slew of infected, contagious people. The only way to get rid of this epidemic is to socially isolate those who are sick until they are recovered. The medication schedule for treatment is very rigorous and also difficult for the people. In addition, better health policies, social reforms bringing better housing, nutrition, and an improvement in quality of living would help. This is what drastically lessened the amount of tuberculosis cases in the United States many years ago.

This is not an option for the peoples of Richmond, though. The tuberculosis virus flourishes in a weakened immune system, and the stress of poverty alone can weaken an immune system.

This is almost completely non-genetic. Like the title of the video states – place matters. It is not as if the Asian Americans are biologically more susceptible to tuberculosis. Like many of the other “Unnatural Causes” videos, people (mostly those who are in poverty) are placed under conditions that leave them no choice but to be sick and unable to heal. When they moved to a better neighborhood, they were under much better living conditions.


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