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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Bloody Diamonds

There are no paintings on the walls in the hospitals I have worked at in the capital of Liberia over the past five years. The bareness on the walls parallels the limited equipment I have on hand to care for patients with bacterial meningitis, pericardial tuberculosis, and malaria. Listening to some of these patients or looking at their chest films without the benefit of modern technology, I get the feeling I am seeing pathology in its most extreme form—the way people saw it when the diseases we now treat routinely in the United States were first discovered. Listening to the sandpaper sound of one man’s pericardial rub, I think, “Oh! That’s why we call it a ‘rub!’” (more…)

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