W5: World Healthcare Revision

After spending this past week reading and learning about infectious disease it is quite clear that there is an underlying issue, structural violence. Structural violence is when there are many inequalities among people of society and basic needs are not being met. For example, the people of America have access, for the most part, to basic needs and treatment. While, people of developing countries and rural areas are in dire need of basic necessities and healthcare. More specifically, Ebola does not occur randomly, ones likelihood of coming into contact with unsterile syringes is inversely proportional to ones social status (PDF 5.2). Public healthcare around the world must be revised. All humans have rights and basic needs should be met all around the world, no matter what a person’s social economic status may be. Dr. Farmer really nailed the problem here. He said that the Ebola epidemic and modern medicine has not yet over lapped (Film 5.1). This is why when two American patients were air lifted the United States they were successfully treated for Ebola. Their basic needs for supportive care were being met. If they needed a blood transfusion, they got. Unfortunately that is not the story for patients whom are fighting Ebola in developing countries. These countries do not have the tools to treat their communities who are affected by Ebola. Their communities are suffering because of the lack of access to health care services. Ebola centers do not meet the needs of patients who require supportive care (Film 5.1). Isolation rooms are essentially shutting people away. These people in developing countries are living in medieval conditions, as Farmer puts it, and others are living in the 21st century (Film 5.1). It is our responsibility, as a developed country, to help fund and create a better health system for developing countries. We must work with our neighbors to help eliminate the devastating affects of lack of health care access in developing countries. It is not solely the disease that is the problem; it is the way it is being handled. Americans must understand that they are stigmatized and mistrusted by the indigenous people. For good reason that is. Local people feel exploited or ignored by the international biomedical teams (PDF 5.1). With that being said, it is important to establish trust and follow through with treatment in the developing world. We must integrate biomedicine into the system that already exists while respecting different cultures values. The poor are the natural constituents of public health, and physicians, are the natural attorneys of the poor (Farmer, 2006). America is known for making great changes around the world and I strongly believe that in time, with the help of out “natural attorneys of the poor” we will bring the 80-90% case mortality rate down to 5-10%.


Farmer, Paul. “Structural Violence and Clinical Medicine.” PLOS Medicine:. 2006. Accessed August 05, 2016. http://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.0030449.

3 thoughts on “W5: World Healthcare Revision

  1. Hi Taylor,

    I like how you bring up the idea of integrating biomedicine into the systems which are already in place in communities that are lacking the necessary resources to fight infectious disease. Infectious disease is an issue which should be a global concern. It doesn’t take much for an out-of-control infectious disease in a remote corner of West Africa to migrate to bigger cities and more populous areas. That being said, shouldn’t we all want to help when an infectious disease outbreak occurs?

    In America, and other first world countries throughout the world, we have the necessary resources to protect against and treat many infectious diseases, like Ebola and malaria. Though the argument could be made that these resources should be saved for possible outbreaks in our home countries, the idea is that we won’t need those treatments for home communities, so long as major outbreaks don’t occur in other parts of the world. The world should be concerned with the well-being of all communities and their experiences with infectious disease. If the resources are available, we should use them, regardless of where the outbreak occurs or what type of community it occurs in. For, as we have seen with Ebola, the amount of suffering that infectious diseases can cause is too much to stand by and let resource-limited communities battle on their own.

  2. Hello! I really like how you defined structural violence. I had a similar definition in that there were inequalities among different groups of people. Whether it is ethnicity, class, or gender related there is structural violence as long as inequalities are present. I brought up the example in my post of there being a significance difference between fatalities related to infectious diseases for wealthy and poor people (Farmer, 2010). The percentage was very low for the wealthy compared to populations with less money. You also brought up the point, which was discussed by Dr. Farmer, that the two Americans were being helped in an efficient manner while many others, who are not American, are still suffering. I agree with you that everyone should be helped. I think that the same amount of effort should be put into everyone who is sick and not just particular people. If the same effort was put into everyone then I think we would have a stronger lead on the causes of infectious diseases and what to do in order to cure them. It is very difficult to comprehend why structural violence is still occurring. Structural violence is really affecting the way health care is being provided and it is time that action is taken against it.

  3. Hey Taylor I really liked your post! First off I really liked how you suggested we integrate biomedicine with cultural values. This sounds like a great way to win the trust of the people and have them more comfortable with seeing doctors. Also the quarantining of sick patients without treatment is a horrible injustice and should really change. People are dying because doctors in Africa lack the resources and access to serve patients with the proper care. As a developed country we should care, infectious disease is a serious threat to everyone. Without the proper management it could easily spread to developed countries such as this one or Europe. Although we may not suffer the same fatalities due to an advanced healthcare system, it would cost our country and citizens a lot of money and extra stress. This is why we need to ensure that we support African countries which are suffering from lack of hygiene and resources. This would reduce much of the disease the country has. Most of the time disease are contracted from unclean water and living conditions. It is much cheaper to fund the access of clean water and donation of supplies than to pay for an outbreak.

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