The Vital Need for Greater Technology in Global Health

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

This post is a question, an invitation and a challenge. How can we bring technologies we take for granted back home to those in the developing world? Many before me have spoken with outrage about the reality of two worlds; one of abundance, and the other where people live like they have in centuries past. The situation is more complicated since even poor people may have some technologies like cellphones now, but vital lifesaving technologies remain nowhere in sight. Some may argue that we still haven’t solved the dilemma of how to provide basic care on a global scale, but I believe that the two don’t need to be sequential. In actuality there are many scenarios in medicine where having a technology available is in fact necessary for the basic management of disease. We are doing our patients a disservice when they die from lack of access to a ventilator the same way as when they die from lack of access to an antibiotic. (more…)

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Dr. Jean Bosco: Making Sense of Suffering

“We come here to learn but the problem with us is whatever circumstances we do experience, we judge it, we take it as bad or as good but we don’t take it as an opportunity to learn and discover who we really are. We are peace. We are light. We are love.”
                          ~Dr. Jean Bosco 
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Fourteen hours outside of Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, Dr. Jean Bosco Niyonzima works tirelessly to build health systems and provide health care to some of the poorest people on the planet. Originally from a rural village in Rwanda,   Dr. Bosco was twenty years old when the genocide in his country in 1994 took the lives of almost one million people in just 90 days. (more…)

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Specialty Care is Fundamental

When I first saw her in the emergency department, she didn’t look like a child with recent onset blindness who we were told would arrive that day.  Her uncontrolled, bobbing head, wildly darting eye movements, and wobbly gait implied there was a broader explanation for her problems, and her constant tears made it clear that she was miserable. For almost a month, she had difficulty seeing and walking, and she arrived the Partners in Health’s (PIH) tertiary referral hospital in Mirebalais, Haiti after winding through a stream of doctors visits, email referrals, car rides, and brain scans.  Upon seeing her uncoordinated attempts at standing, my mind replayed a recent conversation with a pediatric neurologist: “If you see any kids there with chorea, it’s probably Sydenham’s.” (more…)

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