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Best Careers for Fighting Poverty
Many people are looking to make a difference these days through volunteer work, making donations and voting, but there are also many careers that can make a huge impact. The best careers for fighting poverty may be surprising to some, but each makes a difference in the lives of others.

Working in these fields makes the world a better place and improves the lives of the poor:

  1. Teachers
    Kids spend approximately 1,200 hours annually in the classroom. A teacher’s influence is vast and encompasses the education, mental health and safety of the children they teach. Education is vital in the fight against poverty and provides students with the tools necessary to make a living and gain the schooling needed to avoid poverty.
    It is important more than ever that female teachers gain employment in developing areas. This allows girls in culturally strict regions to be able to attend school, feel safe and receive gender equality in the classroom.
  2. Social Workers
    Those in vulnerable situations are able to receive support through their social workers, such as family counselors. Social workers work to improve the mental health of those seeking counsel, and help diagnose emotional issues, so that they can receive treatment and progress professionally.
  3. Doctors and Nurses
    Working in one of the best careers for fighting poverty, those in the medical field have the power to affect the health of people in poorer communities. They can even opt to go abroad with volunteer groups or Doctors Without Borders during seasons they choose.
    Doctors and nurses can also help vaccinate those in developing countries, provide health counsel and improve the health conditions of the community they work in. Citizens in good health are less likely to remain or fall into poverty in the first place. With good health, they are able to work full time, participate in the economy and attend school.
  4. Entrepreneurs
    People who start their own businesses are able to address issues that may not have already been addressed by their communities or nations yet. Entrepreneurs have the power to not only create jobs and positively impact their local economies, but are also able to create influential movements and businesses.
  5. Lawyers
    Lawyers are able to participate in pro-bono work, providing legal assistance to those who would not otherwise be able to afford the help. They are also able to prevent those wrongly accused from going to prison, which stimulates the economy and keeps people in the work force and out of crime.

There are many influential jobs that can reduce poverty in communities, but these are the best careers for fighting poverty that have the widest reach. The average person spends 90,000 hours at work in their lifetime and to be able to make those hours count is an impactful feat, accomplished by those who care enough to make a career out of making a difference.

– Emily Degn

Photo: Flickr


History is full of unsung female heroes, and the story of the fight against disease is no exception. March 8 is celebrated as International Women’s Day, and global health organizations worldwide took the opportunity this year to recognize amazing women who have made, and continue to make, important contributions. Here are five awesome women who fought disease:

 1. Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, 1689-1762

Lady Montagu was almost singlehandedly responsible for introducing inoculation to Western medicine. An accomplished poet and letter writer, Montagu became an advocate for global health after she witnessed a smallpox vaccine being administered during a visit to the Ottoman Empire. She used her writing skills to defend the practice at home in England, where she defied European doctors by having her son Edward vaccinated.

 2. Dr. Isabel Morgan, 1911-1996

Instrumental in the fight against polio, Morgan broke new ground in the medical understanding of vaccines with her work during the 1940s. She and her team proved that “killed-virus” vaccines were effective in the creation of antibodies in the immune systems of monkeys, preventing the virus from passing the blood-brain barrier. Thanks to her research, a safe and effective vaccine for humans was created and continues to save lives today.

3. Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler, 1831-1895

Crumpler challenged the status quo by becoming the first African-American woman to earn an M.D. She devoted her practice to caring for freed slaves and the poor after the end of the Civil War in 1865. Her written work published in 1883 Book of Medical Discourses, which contains a brief autobiography of her career, is one of the first medical references in the U.S. authored by an African-American individual.

4, Henrietta Lacks, 1920-1951

Lacks fought disease in a most surprising fashion: with her own cellular tissue. After being diagnosed with cervical cancer at age 30, Lacks provided a sample from a tumor that contained what medical research refers to as “immortal” cells. Her cells were code-named ‘HeLa cells’ by doctors and researchers. These particular cells are able to survive indefinitely in a laboratory environment, for reasons still partially unknown to science. They have been used to learn more about everything from developing vaccines to cellular behavior in zero gravity environments.

5. Nontokozo Zakwe, 1993-current

Zakwe is living proof that even without medical degrees, girls can grow up to become awesome women who fought disease. Zakwe is a volunteer and ambassador for the DREAMS partnership across 10 African countries, led by the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (PEPFAR). After being inspired by her mother’s battle with HIV, Zakwe continues to raise awareness and provide education for preventing the spread of the virus throughout the world.

On International Women’s Day 2017, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) released a report outlining its impressive goals to reduce the number of girls and women infected by the virus by providing access to reproductive health options to 90 percent of the population by 2020. Among the ranks of those working to achieve that reality, there will surely be more pioneering women in the global fight against the disease.

Dan Krajewski

Photo: Flickr

Cameroon_Illegal_Hospitals
Bijoko Atangana, the secretary general of Cameroon’s Medical Council, called attention to the immense number of doctors working illegally in the country. The government explained that 600 illegal hospitals and health centers have recently been identified, those of which who are not abiding by government specifications are also being closed down. Atangana further described how easy it is to pinpoint doctors with fake licenses since they are not working under the National Medical Council.

Moreover, the World Health Organization (WHO) presented information on the use of counterfeit drugs used within illegal hospitals, drugs which are suspected of leading to over 200,000 deaths worldwide each year. Cases involving blood transfusion infections, counterfeit malaria, antibiotics and tuberculosis drugs have left patients either severely ill or dead, especially in Cameroon. The lack of medical staff due to the crackdown on hospitals is also proving to be an issue as patients wait hours with nobody to help them.

Cameroon’s Health Ministry is working hard to close down illegal hospitals and enforce laws to save lives. The WHO has also been actively working for decades to stop counterfeit drug networks. They have, since 2009, closed down several retail outlets, 100 of which were in China. They have also been involved in aiding countries create detection systems and develop high-tech drug packaging to avoid easy drug replication. Developing countries such as Cameroon are easy targets for illegal pharmaceuticals and clinics due to the cheap price of medications while the necessity of medical practitioners are in high demand.

Maybelline Martez 

Sources: Voice of America, World Health Organization

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The Flying Doctors Nigeria is an air ambulance service based in Lagos, Nigeria. Founded by Dr. Ola Orekunrin, the service is the first of its kind in West Africa. The company was founded to serve a need for immediate air transport for those injured or in desperate need of medical attention. According to Orekunrin, for many in Nigeria, medical help was next to impossible to find because the two or three good hospitals were two to four day journeys away. For a nation that has a huge oil and gas industry, the fact that there was no system for transporting to hospitals quickly seemed to be a glaring error in heath care to Orekunrin.

Dr. Orekunrin herself was impacted by the lack of transportation for the sick or injured. A few years ago, while Orekunrin was studying in the U.K., her 12-year-old sister fell gravely ill while on vacation in Nigeria. She needed medical care urgently but the local hospital could not care for the condition she had. The family was shocked to find out that there was no available air ambulance service in all of West Africa to move the girl to a better healthcare center  and that they would have to call for a flight all the way from South Africa. By the time the flight was even available, the little girl had already passed away.

For Orekunrin, the sudden loss of her younger sister was both shocking and life changing. A doctor by the age of 21, Orekunrin had a promising career in the U.K. as one the youngest, most talented, and ambitious young leaders. Yet she left it all to move to Nigeria to address healthcare in the African nation. So Orekunrin went to study evacuation models and air ambulance in developing countries. In 2010, she launched her own company Flying Doctors Nigeria.

Flying Doctors Nigeria is currently in its third year and continues to swiftly transport people who need urgent medical care. It has since airlifted and provided expert health care en route to 500 patients. The company uses a fleet of planes and helicopters in its work. The service has carried all sorts of injured or ill from victims of traffic accidents to gunshot wounds. This transportation is critical to patients as roads in parts of West Africa are often poorly maintained and badly lit at night, making transportation in cars both inefficient and difficult.

There are still many hurdles that this young company must face. First and foremost, aviation business is highly expensive in Nigeria. Orekunrin has stated “keeping costs down is always a challenge.” Furthermore red tape is always tangling up businesses. Yet with a growing financial services sector and a growing petroleum and gas industry could fuel demand for companies like Flying Doctors Nigeria. For Orekunrin and those who work with her, their labor is difficult, but the rewards for their hard work and dedication are life saving.

– Grace Zhao

Sources: CNN CP Africa Knowledge Fountain
Photo: Blogspot

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China has been a part of health aid to Africa since 1941, and has since then developed their intervention in Africa to be distinctly different from that of Western aid. Their emphasis has been on horizontal interventions to further develop health care infrastructure in a clearly anti-imperialist manner. Health diplomacy for China specifically targets under-served rural communities, with more than 15,000 medical personnel serving in Africa since 1964. Another important difference is that China’s assistance is almost entirely public in nature, and in the words of one Chinese informant: “If they don’t ask, we don’t provide”.

This factor is incredibly important, as it gives the aid recipients a much larger role in any initiatives, wherein they propose a project and the Chinese government then assesses whether it can meet those demands or not. Chinese medical teams also tend to stay together in one facility for a minimum of two years, whereas interventions from the West usually end up turned over to the government with an end to donor involvement after a project ends. In this way, China is working towards a very sustainable strengthening of the Chinese healthcare system.

The construction of clinics and training of medical students are also a focus point of Chinese health diplomacy. Most recently, the development of “container hospitals” will soon be introduced into African countries, either in Cameroon or Namibia as a starting place. Each hospital consists of ten containers with rooms for “general clinics, waiting patients, treatments, a pharmacy and back-up power supply”. These portable hospitals were developed in order to be used for long-term service use near suburban villages. Smaller “container clinics” have also been developed with one to three containers. These clinics are expected to reach Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, and Egypt by the end of the year, and the first of these will be staffed by African doctors trained specifically to use these container hospitals and clinics.

While China’s focus on infrastructure is clear and effective, recently Chinese health diplomacy has seen a shift to work closer with organizations such as The Gates Foundation and the World Health Organization. These collaborations have been focused on malaria and HIV/AIDS treatment, which are a contrast to the infrastructural focus of China’s common aid projects. Hopefully, Western organizations and donors will begin to shift their focus as well so that no source of aid is entirely focused on vertical or on horizontal aid programs. As well, all forms of assistance should work closely with the recipient governments in order to provide the more effective and efficient aid.

– Sarah Rybak
Source: All Africa, All Africa
Photo: The Age World

china-foreign-aid-policy
In the past decade, China has committed at least $75 billion to aid and development in Africa. Since 2000, there has been up to 1,700 projects, and China’s commitment to development in Africa stands as one of the strongest of any donor country. Research in the U.S. has created a large public database of these projects, named AidData, in order to analyze China’s efforts.

While this ongoing data collection could create debate over China’s interests in Africa, it is clear that Chinese engagement in the continent strengthened infrastructure, energy generation, and supply and communications. The ability to measure this aid will allow for transparency in China’s aid processes and strategies. Chinese aid is performed through direct investment “without state involvement and NGO aid” so that there is no middleman and the money can go directly where it is needed. However, this makes it more difficult to track where the money goes, and how it is used.

Ghana, Nigeria, and Sudan are the biggest aid recipients, receiving a quarter of a trillion dollars over the past 10 years. As was earlier mentioned, the biggest priority for Chinese aid is infrastructure. This means that empowering women, providing food aid, and creating education systems rank much lower on the priority list. AidData has suggest that because these are areas that the West tends to focus on the most, China has taken a different route.

In spite of this reasoning, according to AidData, China has backed hundreds of health, transport, and agricultural projects. Doctors and teachers have been sent into Africa as well, while African students have been encouraged to study in China. Some insist that China is only interested in the continent for its natural resources, yet it is clear that China is interested in supporting Africa for the future.

– Sarah Rybak

Sources: The Guardian, ONE
Photo: China Daily