Month: October 2013

The 7 Worst International Aid Ideas

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While in theory and at first thought these ideas presented in this article may seem like decent ones, and even possibly impactful and beneficial in our eyes, upon further inspection it is evident that these movements are baseless, solving only surface problems, if any at all. This article comically outlines 7 of the most significant “failed” ideas for international aid that surprisingly foster more problems than solve in disrupting the economy, culture, and work force of the targeted country without any positive sustainable change. From 50 Cent to Toms, it’s difficult not to question more deeply and marvel at, Western culture’s (often comedic) attempt at solving the complex problems of third world nations. Click the blue link and take a read!

7 worst international aid ideas

A Dialog with Data: Tracking Gastritis in Bayalpata

Every month, Nyaya Health receives a ton of clinical data from the Bayalpata hospital but they have little time to sort through it all – this is where Data Team comes in! We analyze raw data on everything the hospital is up to, from patient outcomes to enrollment in HIV programs to prenatal care. If a trend appears that interests or surprises us, we dig a little deeper to see what could be the underlying cause and if the hospital benefit from this new information. I looked at inpatient and outpatient data and saw that in the breakdown of outpatient cases, abdominal and gastrointestinal consistently accounted for the majority of outpatient visits every month.

For example, in the Nepali month Bhadra 2070 (July 2013) the breakdown looks like this:

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Again, these are all outpatient cases which means that the patient visited the clinic, got checked out, and then went back home, they never stayed in the hospital.

So, what is causing so many abdominal/gastrointestinal cases in Achham? I broke the data down even further and saw what was driving the bulk of abdominal and gastrointestinal cases – gastritis.

Gastritis is an inflammation of the stomach lining and can be caused by excessive alcohol consumption or prolonged use of antibiotics. It can easily be tested for and treated and the bulk of cases found are acute but chronic gastritis is a contributory cause of more serious conditions such as stomach cancer.

The incidence of gastritis over a 20 month period is graphed here:

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There is huge variability in the number of gastritis each month which is unexplained. Are there fewer cases of gastritis in Sawan 2069 (June 2012) simply because fewer people are coming to the clinic that month? Are there less abdominal/gastrointestinal cases as a whole? Or is there an external factor that is hidden in the data?

I compared these three factors side by side and saw that while there are some parallels between gastritis cases, total outpatient cases, and total abdominal/gastrointestinal cases, it is not enough to explain the variability of gastritis incidence.

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Moving forward, I hope to look at other factors that could be causing such high rates of gastritis such as the prescription of antibiotics.

Maternal Care for a Healthier Society

Delivery Room in Achham

This year, Tufts’ GlobeMed chapter has committed to raising money to improve the quality of maternal care provided for the people of Achham by the interventions of Nyaya Health. Since pregnancy is a perfectly normal condition in a healthy woman’s life, and many women will give birth at least once in their lifetimes, it makes sense to direct the attention of a medical facility in this direction.

The value of meticulous prenatal and perinatal care is impossible to overstate; an improvement in the monitoring and treatment of expectant mothers lays the groundwork for the raising of healthy children and the development of a healthier society. As a chapter, it is our hope that the improvement in resources generated by our fundraising efforts allows the medical team at Bayalpata Hospital to provide the expectant parents of Achham with the best care possible.

Presently, Nyaya Health provides for the implementation of routine prenatal and delivery services, including tests for anemia and HIV, standard delivery with the assistance of a qualified midwife or physician. There are also provisions for dealing with relatively common peripartum complications such as pre-eclampsia, obstruction of labor, and breech deliveries.

With increased funding, Nyaya Health is looking to increase the number of services available to pregnant women, specifically in the realm of administering preventive care and treating minor complications during delivery. The medical team hopes to further limit maternal mortality and ensure that as many births as possible occur healthfully and without harm to mother or baby.

ACA Individual Mandate: Why You Should Stop Criticizing and Start Caring

ACA Blog picThough the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as simply the ACA and Obamacare, is approximately 2,400 pages long in total length, there are key components of the act that spark a significant amount of controversy and debate. Enough debate to have the nation essentially split directly, and ultimately to have been a key factor in the recent government shutdown effective as of October 1st. Coincidentally and ironically, it was because of this government shutdown pertaining to the ACA that I could not obtain access to some documents on it. Fortunately there are many other non-government affiliated documents on the subject, and I’d like to hone on one major factor of the ACA, a contentious component that I feel is one of the most imperative, known as the individual mandate. The definition of the individual mandate, to go into effect with the anticipated implementation of Obamacare, is defined by kaiserhealthnews.org as “a provision of the federal health law that requires you, your children and anyone else that you claim as a dependent on your taxes to have health insurance in 2014 or pay a penalty. That coverage can be supplied through your job, public programs such as Medicare or Medicaid, or an individual policy that you purchase. The health law is setting up online health insurance marketplaces, also known as exchanges, to help you shop for plans.”

Republicans see it as a power-hungry move by the government for control and an infringement on their rights; however, if the end goal is of benefit to society as a whole, and literally promote the general welfare, that view cannot truly be upheld. On the side of Democrats, though in favor of the act, one of the controversial views regarding this mandate is that although its goal is aiming to close the disparity in those who can afford health insurance and those who cannot, it isn’t fully solving the problem in providing a universal health care system for all members of society in the United States. What I feel people are neglecting to remember, however, is that it is a step in the right direction, and if there are enough current issues between the two parties on simply obtaining this first victory, delving straight into the ultimate goal is inefficient and unrealistic. In addition, it is always positive to have two varying views on an issue in order to keep it in perspective.

The mandate of health insurance for all American citizens will additionally aid in eliminating the rising problem of individuals and families being denied health insurance, or charged higher, for preexisting health conditions, whether minor or not. Currently insurance companies have the power to dictate who gets what type of insurance in an attempt to ensure that they have the healthiest clients, in turn resulting in a vicious cycle of less fortunate citizens, monetarily and health-wise, continually receiving less care and a higher probability of health problems. Though it is easy to criticize new initiatives, the important thing is that it is still just that: new, progressive, an idea. And as Cardinal Mahony stated, “Any society, any nation, is judged on the basis of how it treats its weakest members ; the last, the least, the littlest.”