I performed pretty badly on the Health Equity quiz, scoring only a 3 out of 10. The statistic I find most shocking is that we rank only 29th in the world in terms of life expectancy. I thought we would at least be listed in the top 10 because of advancements in pharmaceuticals and the many regulations we have on clean water and such. I understand that Americans are not the healthiest people, but I really did not expect to be as low as 29th. Another statistic that surprises me is how our large increase in life expectancy is due to social reform as opposed to the progress we have made in health care.
The video, ‘Collateral Damage,’ discusses how US control over the Marshall Islands has led to large spike in infectious diseases, namely Tuberculosis, in the past 60 years. TB is most common in areas with bad quality of living, such as bad housing and malnutrition. The rate of TB alone on the islands is 23 times greater than that of the US. The poverty-stricken island of Ebeye, located within the Marshall Islands, is crowded and overpopulated, which can explain why certain diseases are endemic there. The homes are built so closely together and it is not uncommon for more than 20 people to be living under a single roof, further promoting the spread of illness.
Although the US no longer has reign over the Marshall Islands, the military still occupies the island of Kwajelein. In the 1950’s, the US uprooted the residents of Kwajelein and forced them to settle on Ebeye, which is where the issues began. The resettlement not only caused the increase in infectious diseases on the island, but it also negatively affected the Marshallese culture. We have disrupted the normal lives of these people and thrown them into an area where 2-week power outages and water shortages are common, all for our own benefit. Slowly but surely, we have been working on social reforms to help relocate the Marshallese to low-cost areas in the US to help them freely rebuild their lives.