W2 Activity: Collateral Damage

I didn’t do very well on the Health Equity Quiz, scoring a low 3 out of 10. I was surprised to find out that the United States is in 29th place in terms of life expectancy in the world. At the very least I expected us to be in the top 10. I’m also surprised that other countries have surpassed us in longevity over the last 60 years, and that we even used to be in the top 5.

One of the three case studies that I watched was a video titled Collateral Damage. It was about the people of the Marshall Islands on the small islet of Ebeye. In this small one by one eighth of a mile islet, there are over 10,000 people who live there, which is very many for such a small area. The greatest issue here it seems, is that people don’t have the money to pay for treatment of health issues, most predominantly tuberculosis. There was also a big conflict in which the United States military moved Marshallese people off of their islands to different islands. As mentioned in the video, this may have affected people’s susceptibility to tuberculosis by causing stress, which could weaken their immune system’s ability to control infection.

The case of the tuberculosis epidemic in the Marshall Islands is based mainly on the dense population of the people on the island and lack of access to health care. The doctor from the video, Rihna James, clearly cares about the lives of these people, and travels to their homes to administer proper treatment. She does this because it can be difficult for many of the Marshallese people to traditional hospital treatment.

There are probably not very many genetic factors involved in the spread of the disease, but rather it is the dense population of the island that allows infection to spread so easily. For many people around the world, it may be a combination of an acquired immunity and access to treatment that prevents most people from experiencing symptoms of the infection. According to the WHO, about 1/3 of the Earth’s population is already infected with tuberculosis, but most the infected people have the capability to keep the infection latent in their lungs.

One thought on “W2 Activity: Collateral Damage

  1. Hi, Anissa

    It is very interesting to read your post. You went straight to the point on summarizing the clip you chose which is easy for me to catch on to what is going on. For my solution for tuberculosis of Marshall island people is to take care of themselves as individual because since tuberculosis can be affected through a dense population as you mentioned, people as in individuals should be more careful with their own hygiene standards by washing their hands frequently and taking showers often. Also, people should make it a habit to clean their surrounding environment to prevent the spread of tuberculosis among people. Cleaning the environment prevents people from other severe diseases other than tuberculosis, too. So, my solution is more for an individual because it is a simple way to hinder massive spreading tuberculosis with 10,000 people in such a small island. Also, people should properly learn about how to obtain healthier habits for their protections from tuberculosis.
    I think that government should be responsible for alleviating this health disparity because government should raise money for vaccines and health care services for people in Marshall Islands. Also, government should notify or lead campaigns to have better hygiene among people to encourage people from spreading tuberculosis.

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