Global Health Tidbits

Here’s what I’ve been reading about this week…how about you? What’s been the most interesting thing you’ve learned this week?

Acquiescence, Broken Trust and Water Safety in Healthcare Facilities

This was a fascinating and quick read! To sum up, researchers were looking into WASH and were curious about why providers stopped checking to see if they had running water in their facility.

So, the question must be asked—why would these talented, dedicated clinicians stop checking for water and accept water shortage as the norm? One explanation is that it is a coping mechanism that is part of the human condition. Social psychologist Dr. John Jost argues that this phenomenon is routed in system justification, defined as a “psychological processes contributing to the preservation of existing social arrangements.” In his research, Jost finds that people working in low resource settings tend to accept the status quo more often than people with more resources, even if the current conditions go against their own interest. Expanding on Jost’s work, organizational psychologist Adam Grant writes that acquiescence, whether conscious or unconscious, “robs us of the moral outrage to stand against injustice and the creative will to consider alternative ways that the world could work.”

What do you think about that? Do people living in low resource settings accept the status quo more often than people with more resources? I have seen this phenomenon from time to time but I have also seen the opposite–amazing resourcefulness and a desire for something more. Whenever I have seen great activism and a demand for better services, it usually comes with a group that has built trust over time, though.

Are HIV Initiatives Putting Single Mothers Last?

How about this line:

…stop solely blaming patients for difficulties existing in their maintaining consistent treatment and care, and examine how the biases of the medical community are contributing to these inconsistencies.
This failure is also driving single HIV-positive mothers living below the poverty line, who are experiencing co-morbidities relating to their HIV, to fall through the cracks of the current treatment paradigm. These women experience extreme difficulty getting into and staying retained in clinical studies and maintaining medical appointments. In many cases, this is due to clearly defined barriers: transportation, lack of childcare, conflicting schedules, and a lack of support from an economy allotting just enough to survive but not the dignity needed to surpass mere existence.

HIV care, like so many other chronic illnesses, needs a wholistic approach that takes into consideration the life that a person lives–and in this instance, the lives her children lead.

What have you seen in terms of great, supportive, wholistic HIV care?

The deadly truth about a world built for men – from stab vests to
car crashes

This got me super fired up! I’ve long known about the problems around the exclusion of women from medical trials. But this long list of other things that aren’t built for us? Including cars, seat belts, bullet proof vests, phones, the right temperature of our offices! Oh, I am getting fired up just typing this list again. The exclusion of the perspective of women has a huge price (they site that women are 3x more likely to suffer whiplash from a car accident than man because—cars aren’t built with us in mind!).

The article ends with a call to action for designers, but I think that call to action applies to all of us. Ensure that your work takes women into account. Please and thank you.

Bill Jenkins, Who Tried to Halt Tuskegee Syphilis Study, Dies at 73

I always love a story of a good activist. This does not disappoint. Bill Jenkins spoke up when he saw the moral failings of the Tuskegee experiments. And he spoke truth to power. Again and Again. And thanks to his persistence, this egregious abuse ended.

What have YOU been reading about this week?

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