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Earthquake in Haiti
Dr. Woodley Archer gives an insight into the situation in Haiti immediately after the earthquake. She particularly focuses on the health situation in the country and the role played by the CDC in containing the fast deteriorating health conditions occasioned by the earthquake. Being a health scientist, Dr. Woodley was tasked with the responsibility of working closely with other government agencies and health partners to set up and manage the health surveillance system on the ground. DCS stepped in to support the Haitian government health system that had broken down after the earthquake. They particularly made concerted efforts to combat the cases of malaria. Here, they supported the already established disease surveillance systems. They also introduced the use of rapid diagnostic test as this was fast and gave instant results. In addition to malaria, the group also helped with reproductive health, dengue prevention, and tuberculosis.
The CDC team also trained epidemiologists who would then reinforce public health matters and reinforce policies already put in place by the ministry. Dr. Woodley acknowledges that immense progress was achieved after the surveillance system was set up two weeks after the earthquake. The prevalence of the diseases covered under this program reduced tremendously and though there were a few setbacks, the whole process was largely successful. Dr. Woodley calls upon the Haitian government to set up proper health structures that would ensure more efficient health delivery system so that Haiti can have a healthy population.
In the situation, I would work as a health practitioner hand in hand with the CDC team to help improve the situation. I would particularly want to work at the disease surveillance unit as diagnosis is the most important part of treatment and management of a disease. I would also participate in public health intervention as the public health sector was clearly the most affected.
CDC Response to Cholera in Haiti
Dr. Jordan W. Tappero, the director for Health Systems Reconstruction, says that the fight against cholera in Haiti revolves around five key areas. However, out of these five areas, two are considered extremely important: decreasing deaths in health facilities and decreasing deaths in communities. The CDC team has also established several oral dehydration solution distribution points throughout the country. The team is also focusing on monitoring the trend of the disease in a bid to avert likely future cholera outbreaks in the country and give a lot of attention to education on sanitation.
CDC has also rolled out a training program for healthcare workers. These workers are then distributed to all parts of the country to train other health workers who may be less knowledgeable in the diseases to enable hem efficiently handle cases of cholera in those specific areas. These health community workers ensure that the message on prevention and management of cholera reaches every household in Haiti. Dr. Tappero believes that these community health workers will ultimately have a bearing on the health situation in Haiti and that they are critical to the improvement of health service provision in the country.
CDC Response to Meningitis in Burkina Faso
Meningitis is a disease found in many parts of the world. It affects both children and adults. Dr. Rana Hejja, who is the CDC Division Director of Bacterial Diseases, talks about meningococcal meningitis which is a form of bacterial meningitis commonly found in the sub-Saharan belt of Africa. This region is also called the meningitis belt, and this form of meningitis has caused severe epidemics here leading to thousands of deaths. CDC in partnership with other key players in global healthcaare started an effort to produce a vaccine for this epidemic in the late 90s. Since then, CDC has contributed immensely to describing the epidemiology of this disease in the sub-Saharan belt and played a significant role in vaccine development at a lower cost. Doctor Rana cites this venture as a good example of public-private partnership where several groups come together to solve their goals. Dr. Rana remembers her experience in Burkina Faso in 1996 what she describes as the worst epidemic she has ever witnessed in her life. She lauds the new vaccine which she says is suitable for Africa given that it is very affordable. She says that such initiatives are beneficial to the local communities in that their specific needs are taken into consideration, and this raises the chances of success of such project.
CDC Response to Nodding Disease in Uganda
Dr. Jennifer L. Foltz, the CDC Medical officer, talks on the nodding disease common in Northern Uganda. She says that the disease can start in children who have been born healthy when they reach five or six years. During the first stages of the disease, the children loose concentration in class and have problem with thinking. They later become mentally and physically disabled. The CDC in partnership with the Ugandan government initiated health programs aimed at combating the disease. The team has also made numerous contributions towards the treatment of the disease putting up research and treatment facilities at the centre. The disease is also known to cause a lot of emotional pressure on the parents who may find it difficult to accept the condition of their affected children. CDC also aims at assisting such parents to take good care of the nodding disease patients and on the proper ways to manage the disease.
Traditional midwives in Liberia
Liberia’s maternal and child mortality rate is among the highest in the world. Many wome,n therefore, resort to seek help from traditional midwives. This video seeks to shed light on the influence of traditional health practices on maternal health and how such practices are likely to affect the achievement of millennium goals in maternal health. It mostly brings us to the fore goal 5 which seeks to reduce the world maternal mortality ratio by up to a third. A review of the video discloses a practice that has continued to derail maternal health projection. While the traditional midwives are more accessible and available to the local women than trained nurses and doctors, engaging them during birth can expose the mother’s life to untold risks. This is because most of the midwives are not trained in modern medical procedures and practices and, therefore, may not be able to handle emergency situations. Several maternal deaths have occurred in the hands of these traditional midwives, most of which could have been avoided had the women been attended by professionally trained nurses and doctors. The Liberian government has, however, introduced a six-month training program for the midwives to reduce the rate of maternal mortality, and this has born some fruits.
Tipping the point for global health
Maternal health is the health of the mother during pregnancy, at childbirth, and during post-child birth. Research indicates that every minute, a woman dies at childbirth, and this calls for new approaches to maternal healthcare. One of the millennium development goals on health is to improve maternal health and reduce incidences of maternal death at birth. This can only be achieved if the underlying factors to poor maternal health are addressed. These include poverty, poor health facilities, and the lack of information on maternal health.
Melinda Gates on Maternal Health
Bill and Melinda Gates run a foundation that, among other things, seeks to improve health standards. In this video, Melinda explores the use of contraceptives and other family planning methods. She begins by acknowledging the fact that birth control is a topic that has attracted a lot of opposition and even controversy. She decribes the fact that birth control in such parts of the world as sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, has almost been forgotten. She explains that this is because the contraceptives are rarely available in such countries and that some women shy away from contraceptives because they fear that their husbands may not like it. The end result is that more children are born and more mothers die at childbirth, some of whom are mothers who never wanted to have a child in the first place. She concludes that one of he most concrete solutions to childbirth problems and maternal deaths would be to encourage birth control and make contraceptives in these parts of the world available.
Video 1: Kate O'Brien Interview on Pneumonia Study on Global Disease Burden
Prof. Kate O’Brien talks on pneumococcal diseases. She explains why some countries experience many cases of death resulting from pneumonia. She says that countries with huge populations will experience more cases of pneumonia because they have a large number of children who can potentially suffer from the disease. The second reason she gives is that poor countries may not have enough resources to offer efficient treatment for pneumonia. She concludes by saying that it is the time to act because much information of pneumonia is already available.
Video 2: Addressing Global Mental Health Needs
In this video, an expert from the International Health Corps talks about mental health problems. She explains that many people are not aware of the extent of occurrence of mental health problems. She recommends that more attention should be given to mental health. She says that the effects of mental illnesses are traumatizing to those affected and must be given the attention they deserve. She also advices on how mentally ill individuals should be supported by those around them.
Video 3: WHO: Mental Illness
The video is about mental illnesses and the societal attitude towards them. The video decribes the fact that mental illness is an area of health that has largely been neglected yet its impact, unknown to many, is just as great as that of other leading diseases. In the video, the world is urged to rise up in the fight against mental illness as it is a leading cause of suffering to many.
Video 4: On the move against TB- World TB day (2010)
The video, produced to highlight the theme of The World TB day, 2010, highlights the progress that has been made in the fight against TB. The video states, for instance, that today, 61% of all TB cases are detected, and a treatment rate has shot up to over 80%. While appearing to celebrate these great strides made in the fight against TB, the video warns that there is still more to be done.
Video 5: UN Secretary-General Open’s summit on maternal health.
The video shows Ban-Ki Moon, the UN Secretary General giving his speech in support of mental health initiatives. This followed a speech by Jill Sheffield, the founder and President of Women Deliver. He called on world health agencies to step up the fight against mental illnesses at a conference attended by nearly 4000 people from over 146 countries across the world.
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