This year, a new threat has emerged. Across the border in Iran, COVID-19 has killed scores of people and infected many more, including a deputy health minister, prompting the Iraqi government to close the frontier. Iraq reported its first cases in recent weeks, with 1,415 current case numbers, as of April 15, 2020.
The nightmare of the COVID-19 pandemic offers a view of what climate change will impose on our future health system and communities if uncontrolled. As future doctors, on the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day we raise our voices in unison to draw attention to the urgency of the climate crisis.
The doctor motioned to sit, turned a chair / to face the monitor. A perfectly lovely office. / Natural light from the barren window / gathered in circles around my feet.
Though there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Saipan, the island commonwealth has become a ghost town.
Doing my elective at Klerksdorp-Tshepong (K/T) Hospital Complex in my hometown of Klerksdorp gave me the opportunity to become familiar with the health system, the medical personnel and health-related issues that are prevalent in my community. It also allowed me to draw comparisons between my home country of South Africa and the United Kingdom, where I have undertaken the clinical years of my medical degree.
From a public health perspective, we in Oregon have nowhere near the number of cases as our northern neighbors in Washington, although with delayed testing it is hard to tell exactly how many people are infected. But as we continue to follow the pattern of disease spread that has been demonstrated in Wuhan and Italy, we can presume that things will only escalate from here. And with it, inequities will be laid bare.
This is a question that I have been asked dozens of times over the last several weeks. Ever since the World Health Organization (WHO) and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declared the COVID-19 outbreak a public health emergency, news media has integrated COVID-19 into the news cycle constantly.
During our August delegation, we learned from Puerto Rican experts in their fields and acting first responders about implementing lasting social change since Hurricane María. Each expert’s lecture seemed to revolve around relief, recovery and resilience.
The health impacts associated with structural violence prevent vulnerable populations from gaining access to basic needs. This is due to injustices embedded within institutions and social structures that exist in today’s society.
Developing skills of cultural competence requires an open heart and mind — and often an uncomfortable examination of personal biases. It takes time, but along the way physicians gain greater humility and compassion, which translates to expanded access and higher-quality care for patients.
On Wednesday, September 20, 2017, after an already uncharacteristically volatile hurricane season, Hurricane María made landfall on the island of Borikén (“Puerto Rico” in the indigenous Taíno language).
Outside apartment 13C the street is empty. It is early in the morning, and yet sounds echo from the metal shop beside the lake, roosters crow, and the children upstairs patter back and forth across the tiles. I roll up my yoga mat, shaking dead cockroaches from its rubbery bottom. Through the grated windows I catch a glimpse of Lake Victoria, shimmering out from the cluttered shore of shanties and deconstructed docks to eventually blend with the blue of the morning sky.