According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there is no evidence that anyone in Haiti had ever gotten cholera before 2010. However, since the outbreak began that year, almost half a million Haitians have gotten the disease, and nearly 8,000 have been killed by it.

Cholera is a horrible disease with a surprisingly simple treatment. Victims suffer from extreme diarrhea, but if they are constantly supplied with oral re-hydration in order to replace lost water and electrolytes, they will almost always survive. Unfortunately, poor infrastructure and a lack of water sanitation systems has resulted in many Haitians not getting the treatment they need.

As a result of these deaths, the Boston-based Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti has filed a claim against the UN, stating that evidence demonstrates that the UN was responsible for the outbreak in the first place. Allegedly, UN troops from Nepal were carrying the disease as they were sent to Haiti to assist after the 2010 Earthquake.

On Thursday, February 21, 2013, the UN rejected the Institute’s claim on the basis of diplomatic immunity. Although there are many efforts at the international level to eradicate the cholera epidemic in Haiti, the U.N.’s official decision states that “the claims are ‘not receivable’ because they concern ‘a review of political and policy matters.'” As the UN refuses to compensate Haitian cholera victims, thousands more may suffer until enough money can be raised to implement Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon’s plan for eradicating cholera in the region.

Jake Simon

Source: U.S. News
Photo: The Guardian

global health 2_opt
Contrary to popular opinion, globalization has several little known and widely unpublicized effects on overall health and longevity. Previously, this phenomenon was primarily centered around the interconnectedness of people, ideas, and economic capital; however recent findings show that it might not be operating within the pre-conceived limitations and that there may actually be some health benefits of globalization.

Researchers at the University of Netherlands and Luephana University collaborated to analyze the mortality rates of globalized versus non-globalized countries. Utilizing the Maastricht Globalization Index (MGI) as a barometer to measure the various associations between globalization and health in a nation, scientists were able to determine-via statistical analysis-certain positive outcomes. Their results were unexpected, and what emerged from the study were three surprising health benefits of globalization.

1. Infant Mortality Rates – In comparing the MGI to infant mortality rates, research values overwhelmingly showed that those countries with greater globalization levels also had reduced infant mortality rates. Scientists theorized that the converse relationship between the two might have to do with the higher educational, GDP, and neo-natal care levels of a globalized versus non-globalized nations.

2. Under Five Mortality Rates – Following the completion of the study, researchers were also able to determine that under five mortality rates were decreased in those nations exhibiting higher levels of globalization. In regards to under five mortality rates, the decreased numbers of female smokers was a significant contributor to the health benefits of globalization.

3. Adult Mortality Rates – Even more surprising, the MGI showed a significant correlation between higher rates of globalization and lower rates of adult mortality in a nation. These health benefits of globalization were the most unexpected, and researchers found that improved access to sanitation was the greatest statistical contributor.

It appears that based upon these findings, there is a certain amount of scientific evidence highlighting the health benefits of globalization. Thus, advocating for the increased economic stability and food security factors of global poverty reduction is exactly what is needed to combat infant, under five, and adult mortality rates.

Brian Turner

Source: Globalization and Health

Photo: Imperial International Public Health


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