I first became interested in the topic of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) health care and health education while working as a country lead for the Presidential Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). During my time there I had the opportunity to travel to South Africa and understand their community and health care system a bit better, with an emphasis on their HIV/AIDS epidemic. This post focuses on the LGBT history in South Africa, recent developments, addressing that there is a gap between homophobia and non-judgmental care, and the importance of health care workers understanding LGBT health education.
More and more countries around the world are opening their arms to welcome and embrace LGBT pride. South Africa has one of the world’s more progressive constitutions which legally protects LGBT people from discrimination, although current research indicates that they continue to face discrimination and homophobia in many different facets of life. The most recent milestone occurred in 2006 when the country passed a law to recognize same-sex marriages. Nevertheless, LGBT South Africans particularly those outside of the major cities, continue to face some challenges including conservative attitudes, violence, and high rates of disease. As the country continues to grow there seems to be an increase in LGBT representation (with approximately 4,900,000 people identifying as LGBT) whether it is through activism, tourism, the media and society or support from religious groups. So, what about LGBT health education? Continue reading “Improving LGBT Health Education in South Africa: Addressing the Gap” →
There are tons of examples of how technology is transforming global health, including this recent video from The World Bank.
The Pacific region contains many countries with populations spread across large distances and the Kingdom of Tonga is one of them. Containing 170 islands, Tonga has unique development challenges. According to the video, there are only about 55 doctors in Tonga serving a population of 100,000. Medical assistants and nurse practitioners serve the areas outside the main islands, thus access to doctors is limited. Also, Internet in Tonga is very expensive and provides limited bandwidth.
To address these two issues, The World Bank, along with its partners, constructed an 827 kilometer underwater fiber optic cable that connects Tonga to the Southern Cross Cable Network via Fiji and helps improve Internet services. So what impact does this have on healthcare? Increased bandwidth allows hospitals and health professionals to get what they need, improves information collection, leads to better diagnoses, and allows them to liaise with partners overseas to ensure best treatment for patients.
We all recognize that technology has a strong impact on many aspects of our lives (for better or worse). The benefits associated with the intersection of technology and healthcare is very interesting and becomes even more interesting when you examine the effects it has in rural versus urban areas. This video clearly highlights work done in rural areas where access is a huge problem. Watching it reminded me of an article I read in the New York Times last year about a failed MNCH project. The project failed because researchers took a model that was successful in rural areas and tried to replicate it in an urban setting.
That said, when it comes to global health, some people believe there are greater gains to be had in rural areas where successes are “easier” to achieve and measure. What is your opinion?
At this point, I think we can all agree that the American healthcare system has been discussed, dissected, criticized, and compared to just about every other healthcare system on the planet, almost ad nauseum. However, with the first major set of changes from the ACA set to take effect at the beginning of next year (just three and a half months from now), it’s never a bad idea to revisit these issues to reminded of our healthcare inferiority and thus be inspired to make our system better. Or something.
The following infographic has been created and circulated by George Washington University’s online MPH program. It was created with data from the WHO’s World Health Statistics 2013 report and compares American economic, health, and healthcare statistics with a handful of other countries. It’s a large image with a lot of information and can take a bit of time to digest. We have seen several of the metrics before (like here and here), and I am not quite sure why certain countries were selected (seeing Mongolia and Ghana in the array left me scratching my head a bit) – personally, I feel like it is more useful to compare America to countries with a similar population or economic size, or level or development. Nonetheless, it provides additional perspective.