December 1st, 2009 by INMED
Typhoid fever. At this moment I’m caring for a youth with this disease in the highlands of Angola, Africa. The typhoid ruptured six holes in his intestine, and has nearly taken his life. He is of the Ovimbundu people, for whom life has not changed in hundreds of years. The women and children tend corn and bean crops, while men and boys do the hunting and raise sheep and cows. Endemic among them is tuberculosis, intestinal parasites, malaria, and a quarter of their children die before school age. As the Ovimbundu way of life remains obscure, so also does their plight remain unknown.
Epidemic diseases and catastrophic disasters draw our attention to people in need. It’s a heartwarming testimony to the altruistic nature of humankind. But prior to such calamities, multitudes of forgotten people continue to silently struggle for existence. In the Internet age, some two billion persevere without basic housing, education, nutrition, safe water and healthcare.
Some of these forgotten people do not live far away. Nor do they mainly suffer from infectious diseases. Every metropolitan area contains pockets of those living on the margins. The Kansas City area, headquarters of INMED, hosts a great concentration of H’Mong. Originally from Laos, Burma, and Thailand, this distinct people possess deep convictions regarding health and healthcare that frequently marginalizes them.
What can we do to assist forgotten people? First, become informed. The Spirit Catches You And You Fall Down is a provocative book enunciating the cultural barriers between divergent societies. INMED International Medicine & Public Health moves beyond medical care and articulates the multiple behavioral, economic and policy factors that impact physical wellbeing. And don’t miss your chance to become personally active. INMED Diploma programs provide opportunities for the entire range of healthcare students and practicing professionals.
People should not remain unknown simply until disaster or epidemic strike. Please join the growing number of INMED associates in their efforts to serve forgotten people.