While here in India on the Maternal and Child Health Program in Pune program, I read Tracy Kidder’s “Mountains Beyond Mountains.” This book is a biography of Dr. Paul Farmer, who has helped change the face of health care in Haiti (and other countries) with his revolutionary organization Partners in Health (PIH). It gave a good idea of what global health should look like and how to accomplish the task of creating a global health economy.
CFHI’s immersion programs give students the opportunity to see how other cultures and societies do healthcare and to what extent their systems are or aren’t working. Here in India, their DOTS programs for tuberculosis and leprosy have a 95% success rate while only 30% of women are receiving antenatal care. This program gave me insight into a culture that is not possible through other means and programs because of the unique way it approaches the relationship between preceptor and student.
As for defining global health, Farmer put it best when it said: “It is hard justify getting a paycheck or being paid for services that most of the world cannot afford.” He was right in saying that true global health cannot be achieved until everyone is provided the same level of care across borders.
In the Maternal and Child health program in Pune, we focused on maternal mortality and childhood mortality and morbidity. Maternal mortality is defined by the World Health Organization as:
“Death of a woman while pregnant or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy irrespective of duration and site of pregnancy from any cause related to or aggravated by pregnancy or its management but not from accident or incidental causes.”
If we as a global health society can focus on lessening maternal and child deaths, a lot of problems could be solved in the global health field. The statistics on this topic can be found on the World Health Organization website and are worth looking into. (http://www.who.int/maternal_child_adolescent/en/)
Dr. Dabak’s lecture on maternal mortality in India gave a clear picture of the grave and ever changing maternal health situation in India. We have seen this first hand on our program, especially in the rural area where most women do not receive any antenatal care. Part of the problem in India is that of education. If we can teach women around the world that antenatal care is important and absolutely necessary, we can greatly reduce the deaths of mothers and their children.
The Maternal and Child health program is a great rotation to find out if you want to specialize in gynecology because it gives a broad overview of everything from the operating theater to the outpatient department. The Dabak’s make sure that we are able to see as much of the field as we can while talking about health on a global scale. This experience has given me a good picture of what needs to be done in the global health field and what small part I can do to help.