Collateral Damage

On the health equity quiz I only got four of the ten questions correct. Many of the facts were shocking, but the one that stood out the most to me was that the American life expectancy compared to that of other countries put us in 29th place. I thought we would be higher up, I chose that were at least in the top 10. This is surprising considering the amount of money we put into health care and medicine and still we are not top of the list. The case I chose called collateral damage (unnatural cause 6) was about tuberculosis in a small country made up of a chain of islands called the Marshall Islands. The developing country has illnesses that you may find in countries like Africa, and the Middle Eastern. Tuberculosis shows up in countries where the people are poor and cannot maintain the proper health to fight off the disease. The Republic of the Marshall Islands has a tuberculosis rate 23 times that of the Unites States along with many other diseases that have gone rampant in the country. One of the most populated islands in the Marshall Islands, Ebeye, is an example of the struggling countries conditions with overcrowding, poverty, and malnourishment. There are usually over 20 people in each household with each home separated only feet away. Tuberculosis spreads very rapidly as it is airborne, therefore, in these conditions if one person has tuberculosis, it is more than likely to spread throughout the house. Public Health outreach workers are determined to track down patients to make sure they are taking their medication, and tried to keep them isolated from others so they would not spread the disease. The only way to reduce the death rate in the Marshall Islands is to improve their overall living conditions. It is necessary to diminish crowding to prevent it from spreading and improving health by having access to better drinking water. There are some non-genetic factors that played a role in the current health disparities of the Marshall Islands. For example, nuclear testing put the Marshall Islands in extreme poverty and at risk for diseases like tuberculosis. The United States involvement with the Marshall Islands was more political and economic based versus genetic.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Riasia Franklin says:

    The video clip you chose to summarize seems like a very interesting topic to discuss. There are so many people around the world who suffer and die from tubercolosis each year. It seems like the people living in poorer countries are the ones who suffer from it most due to the lack of medical care and treatments, similar to what you mentioned above. A possible solution to this health problem of illness could be for people to live in a better environment that is being kept sanitized and cleaned consistently , and just living in better areas period. Other solutions could be to stop the illness from spreading since it does spread easily. To keep it from spreading, the infected people should be hospitalized and kept away from others who don’t have the illness. My solution is political, and economical. I believe that the government should be responsible for solving this heath disparity because there could be some assistance given to those people who are considered poor, such as a better environment to live in and better medical care to seek treatments for diseases. Kind of similar to how the government may issue food stamps for families who aren’t financially stable to eat and feed their families, but the government still gives little assistance to those people.

  2. Falicia Captain says:

    Firstly, I believe a share of the responsibility of the extreme poverty and tuberculosis rates should be at the hands of the United States government because of their decision to do nuclear testing on the islands. The government obviously had to know the effects that the testing could have on a community, which is why they decided to find a location outside of their own country. Aside from the ethical issues with that decision, I think it is the moral obligation of the United States to provide assistance to help the citizens of the Marshall Islands become healthy and a thriving community once more. Specifically in the overcrowded, poverty-stricken conditions of the island of Ebeye, the United States in partnership with the local government should begin providing assistance to offer better housing and alternative locations to help overcrowding and the spread of tuberculosis. Once living conditions are improved, it would be the responsibility of the doctors and individual patients to maintain their health and avoid the spread of disease. The doctors must educate the citizens on how to control the spread of the disease and how to control and cure their symptoms. After the doctors have informed the locals of the proper information it is completely up to the individual to take responsibility for their health. Patient compliance is one of the most difficult issues in healthcare, because the problem will never truly be solved if patients do not listen and trust the educated doctors to restore their health.

  3. christopher reed says:

    Tuberculosis can be a very difficult disease to contain, especially in conditions like the ones described. But as we learned in the health quiz, one of the most effective measures in fighting diseases like TB is public works and social reform. Investment in certain infrastructural areas such as waste management, sewer systems, and potable water access can greatly reduce the chances of these highly virulent diseases from spreading. However, this type of plan implies that entire communities be overhauled, and it can be quite expensive. Even with the development of these systems, it doesn’t help with the tight spaces people have to live. This would be a combination of political, social, and economic forces working towards a common goal.

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