Collateral Damage

I scored a 2/10 on the health equity quiz, so not very well. Almost every question surprised me. For instance, the U.S. live expectancy ranks 29th in the world and dozens of counties have passed the U.S. I thought we would at least be in the top 5, but clearly not. Another fact that surprised me was the Latino immigrants, even though they are poorer, have better health that those in the U.S. and when they arrive in the U.S. their health diminishes. That really says something about the U.S. if their health declines as they come, but there could also be external factors associated with this statement.


The case study I chose was Collateral Damage and was about the poverty and poor health conditions of the Marshallese people. During World War II, the United States invaded the Marshall Islands. They soon moved all of the Marshallese people off of the Marshall Islands in order to have room for nuclear weapons testing. This created urbanization because the cities were becoming more populated with the Marshallese and tuberculosis was on the rise. The United States then had a problem with their nuclear weapons testing resulting in a radioactive fallout. The residents affected by this fallout were treated and studied for radiation by the United States.


There are non-genetic factors that can explain these health discrepancies. When the United States stated nuclear weapons testing and building military bases, there was a direct impact on the Marshallese people. The non-genetic factor is the United States because by moving the Marshallese off their island they overpopulated the areas and made the spread of tuberculosis even worse. They didn’t have adequate nutrition or living conditions to help treat this disease. Treating the Marshallese was not enough; they needed to make a political decision. This decision had to be to for better housing, nutrients, and overall living conditions in order for them to really fight tuberculosis.

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  1. Carrie Blackwell says:

    One possible solution, or at least a step, to decrease tuberculosis of the Marshallese people in the Marshall Islands would be to administer simple tuberculosis skin tests. By administering the tests and diagnosing someone as having tuberculosis can help stop the spread of the illness. Sometimes the TB (tuberculosis) virus will be living inside a human host without that person displaying the symptoms of TB. If someone is living and spreading the disease without anyone knowing, they can infect a lot more people. The other obvious cause would be to administer better health care to the infected people. This is very easily said than done. TB is, just like you stated, an airborne illness. For people to not spread the disease to anyone else the patient must be quarantined and specific care instructions and procedures need to be followed. To administer health care like this is very expensive and explains why it is so difficult to stop the spread of TB in these islands.

    My solution or at least aid to the TB problem is more along the lines of a biological approach. Testing for the disease and diagnosing the disease can help stop the spread of TB. This will have to be done on a Foreign Aid type basis because the Marshall islands do not, from what you have said, have enough money to get rid of this health disparity.

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