East vs. West: Chinese Learn, Serve and More

May 10th, 2019 by INMED
Posted in Healthcare Education|

INMED today is teaching 40 of the brightest, most motivated learners we’ve ever engaged – and they all live in China. Representing every Chinese province, these healthcare personnel were recommended to us as exceptional. Yesterday I assessed their first Professional Certificate Course in International Medicine & Public Health assignments, projects and exams. Everything their superiors claimed proved true. These are indeed remarkably responsible, effective learners. But we would not be satisfied to simply inflate one’s knowledge and credentials alone. What does their professional progress and expertise mean for low-income or otherwise disadvantaged Chinese persons?

 

Approximately half of INMED’s Professional Certificate Course graduates proceed into a supervised, service-learning experience at a Training Site where care is top priority for those who are disabled, elderly, poor, or minorities. Some of our Chinese graduates complete their service-learning within the country at locations like H’Image Doctor. Others like Edgar Wu serve in more difficult countries like Cambodia and Lebanon, too. All in all, this is a beautiful sight, those most bright bringing hope amid life’s blight.

Larissa Penner: After God in Haiti

May 3rd, 2019 by INMED
Posted in INMED Grads In Action|

Larissa Penner: seriously enthusiastic about serving forgotten people. An RN from Nova Scotia and to the left in this photo, I met Larissa at the 2018 Glendale CA Professional Certificate Course in International Nursing & Public Health. Weeks later, she was on location in Jérémie, Haiti, to begin a two-year service stent. Larissa is socially graceful, constantly smiling, and herein shares her experiences…

 

“We’ve had several other babies this month with severe respiratory distress. A 2-year old had a respiratory rate of 100, and there were more kids with O2 sats of 60%. I love how quickly kids get better; their O2 sats quickly jump to the 90s with a few litres of O2, though our O2 machine only goes up to 5 litres.

“Had a lady come in that had had a baby the day previous and had ‘something hanging out.’ It was a rotten piece of placenta. Gave her some oxytocin and her placenta delivered! No bleeding, and her uterus was nice and hard. Covered her with antibiotics, too.

 

“Pulled out of church for an emergency, a pregnant lady whose husband had stood on her, beaten her, and then left. She was 16 weeks pregnant, complaining of bleeding and abdominal pain and moaning, and unable to ambulate. Everything on assessment was fine except a massive urinary tract infection. We gave an antibiotic, recommended an ultrasound, and sent her home with a safe family. As they were leaving, we heard them say, ‘Nurses are after God. She couldn’t even walk before we came.’”

 

Larissa Penner: skilled, after God, and another INMED Graduate who continues seriously enthusiastic about serving forgotten people.

1st Malaria Vaccine – Bold Advance for Humanity

April 26th, 2019 by INMED
Posted in Global Health News & Inspiration|

David Livingston died of malaria. So did celebrated individuals like Oliver Cromwell and Vasco de Gama. Today some one million children and pregnant mothers each year succumb to malaria. Personally, I’ve treated hundreds of malaria patients in Angola, and at least twice suffered from malaria myself.

 

As a tropical medicine student at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, I was personally invested in their diligent efforts to develop an effective vaccine. Diligence has now born fruit in the release of RTS,S – the first malaria vaccine that shows protection in large scale clinical research studies. RTS,S is being administered to 360,000 children: first in Malawi, and then in Kenya and Ghana – regions where malaria is particularly lethal.

 

RTS,S is not an ideal vaccine. It protects 40% of those vaccinated, and that protection wanes after only 18 months. But as illustrated in the above graphic, administration to large populations over a period of years is mathematically predicted to curb malaria mortality. In this anticipation, we celebrate today with all of humanity!

Why Do Mothers Continue To Die?

April 19th, 2019 by INMED
Posted in Low-Resource Healthcare Pearls|

Tragedy aptly describes the emotions surrounding the death of a pregnant woman. Until recently, grave markers in the United States frequently stated “died in childbirth.” And while such deaths have greatly diminished in North America, they remain frequent in the lower resource nations. Haitian women, for example, have a saying “I am going to sea to catch a new baby, but the journey is long and dangerous, and I may not return.”

 

What is the most common cause of postpartum hemorrhage, that is, bleeding following delivery? Failure of the uterus to contract normally causes bleeding to continue. This atony is the leading cause of postpartum hemorrhage, and this risk is one of the reasons why deliveries should always take place in the facility with immediate access to life-saving intervention. Unfortunately, in many nations well equipped birthing centers are accessible only by wealthy persons.

 

But an even more common clause of maternal death is the category of “Other Causes.” What are these? Malaria is particularly lethal towards pregnant women. Chronic diseases like asthma and valvular heart disease caused by dramatic fever are also among the frequent other causes of maternal mortality.

 

What is the implication of these facts? Most maternal deaths occur at the time of labor and delivery. Our advocacy for development of skilled birthing centers, such as the work of the Global Birthing Home Foundation and Save The Mothers, is particularly strategic to curb maternal tragedy.

Herd Immunity Is For Humans, Too

April 12th, 2019 by INMED
Posted in International Public Health|

Amid the startling rise in measles cases it is imperative to draw upon a basic tenant of public health: herd immunity. This is the relative protection provided to unvaccinated individuals by being surrounded by those who are vaccinated, and hence less likely to transmit infectious agents to the unvaccinated one.

 

In the above scenario on the far left, the person in red color who is ill from measles (or another contagious disease) is surrounded by few vaccinated persons in blue color. Thus, moving next image to the right, this one unvaccinated person can rapidly disseminate the disease, and soon all the blue, unvaccinated persons become red and ill.

 

By contrast, in the right-side scenario, the ill person in red color is surrounded by many vaccinated persons in yellow color, thus protecting those persons who are unvaccinated in blue color.

 

One important implication of heard immunity is the imperative that everyone be vaccinated, and that no one simply assume that the vaccinated persons surrounding them will provide protection. For herd immunity to be effective, everyone must be part of the herd.

Refugee Care – A Concern of Biblical Proportions

April 5th, 2019 by INMED
Posted in International Public Health|

Do you recall the history of ancient Israel? Jacob the patriarch was in hunger, and he heard there was food in the land of Egypt. So, Jacob gathered his family, numbering of about 70, and moved them to that nation. Initially, Jacob was warmly welcomed and fed. But then arose a new pharaoh, one who knew nothing about Jacob and who was jealous over the growing number of his descendants. The new pharaoh enslaved the Israelites, forcing them to abandon their male infants to die. Moses was then commissioned by God to lead the Israelites out of slavery, out of Egypt, and back to their homeland.

 

Care for refugees today continues to be a problem of truly Biblical proportions, testing the allegiances and values of most nations. In this present context, I find especially enlightening to also recall the biblical admonition, recorded in Leviticus 19:33-34, concerning the care of refugees: “When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God.”

KC’s Urban Health Center Entrée Via The Humanitarian Health Conference

March 29th, 2019 by INMED
Posted in INMED Action Steps For You|

“The annual Humanitarian Health Conference gave me the opportunity to share stories, passions, and life with people who have a heart to engage the disadvantaged. It provided me the gateway to hear about what is happening in both local and global contexts,” observes Jordan Crawford, pictured over looking Kampala, capital of Uganda, “The Humanitarian Health Conference encouraged me to consider what it would look like for me, personally, to begin my medical career in serving the least, the lost, and the lowly — the truly marginalized in Kansas City and the world at large.

 

“The Conference gave me opportunity to converse with people from a multitude of backgrounds, and I was encouraged to discover that I’m not alone in my desires to practice this type of medicine. We’re in this together. In fact, it was at the Conference that I first met the man who eventually became my boss at Hope Family Care Center, Dr. Tom Kettler. So, you could say the Conference provided the means by which I started my career!”

 

Perhaps you yourself have a sentiment similar to Jordan Crawford’s. Please register to join us this coming Fri-Sat, April 5-6, here in Kansas City MO for the Humanitarian Health Conference, and take advantage of Pre-Conference Courses on Thu, April 4th. You, too, may discover an inspiring vision for your own career!

ISIS Prime Target, Yazidis, Remain Refugees

March 22nd, 2019 by INMED
Posted in International Public Health|

Last week in Iraq I enjoyed a rare privilege: visiting with a Yazidi family in a remote tent city. The Yazidis are an ancient ethnic and religious minority, and a particular target of ISIS. In 2014, over 400,000 Yazidis fled as ISIS seized the Iraqi city of Sinjar, with thousands more killed or forced into slavery. These recent tragedies, however, did not hinder the hospitality of my hosts. Instead, the offered me fresh baked pita bread, a tour of the plastic tents that for five years have been their home, and an invitation to hold a young Yazidi child.

 

Since 2017, the power of ISIS has diminished, but many Yazidi families express continuing to feel safer in such camps. Winters are cold, in spite of lining their tents with blankets. Days are long, with men being bused away to farming jobs. And education opportunities are limited. Still the Yazidi impress me as an especially hearty and kind lot. I hope one day you, too, will meet some!

After ISIS Refugee Crises Endure

March 15th, 2019 by INMED
Posted in International Public Health|

Amid the dwindling force of ISIS exists a temptation to assume that the crises afflicting multitudes of refugees and internally displaced people in the Middle East has simply abated. Not true. This week I write from Iraqi Kurdistan, east of Syria and south of Turkey, where I’m hosted by Lawand Talal, national protection officer for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).

 

Lawand Talal, a United States-educated attorney and citizen of Iraq, explains some of the challenges: “Children separated by the conflict have parents who still cannot be located, and parents who fled have lost children who still cannot be found. Some families who would like to return to their homes, but their houses continue decimated and the risk of neighborhood crime remains high. And, minority people in these unsettled times are even more vulnerable to unbridled prejudice and violence.”

 

Post ISIS, the role of UNHCR continues to be critical: leading and coordinating international action for the worldwide protection of refugees, safeguarding the rights and well-being of these people who have very often lost every worldly possession and social advantage. What can you do? Begin by informing yourself. Visit UNHCR What We Do. Next, contact an agency in your city that provides support for refugees in your own community. Consider a Donation to UNHCR or other similar service organization. And please, share an encouraging word with all those providing relief to today’s abundance of refugees and internally displaced people.

On April 5-6: Equip. Connect. Go!

March 8th, 2019 by INMED
Posted in INMED Action Steps For You|

Ours today is a world on edge: chaos in Venezuela, starvation in Yemen, fire devastation in California, ongoing Ebola outbreaks in Democratic Republic of the Congo, to name but a few. Silhouetted against this backdrop are individuals like you; people with professional skills and a deep interest in volunteering your talents to help coax our world back from the edge. Bravo!

 

But healthcare is a taxing field, and providing healthcare in the midst of chaos, starvation, and fire is particularly exacting. The 2019 2019 Humanitarian Health Conference will both refresh your soul and give you special resources to Equip. Connect. Go!

 

Capitalize on this opportunity to equip yourself with a new expertise, to connect with a service organization of similar vision, and to create a personal plan to go serve on the edge.