Mobile Worldwide Health Priorities

February 16th, 2018 by Nicholas Comninellis
Posted in International Public Health|

What a profound difference fifteen years has made. I’m not referring to development of a new mobile app, but rather to the mobility we are witnessing in the causes of disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) lost. In the year 2000, in the world’s lowest income nations the leading threat were these:

 

Then in the early 2000s came wide expansion of effective HIV medical treatment, accompanied by much improved prevention of mother-to-newborn HIV transmission and Test And Treat to reduce adult-to-adult transmission. Since then, HIV’s contribution to DALYs lost has declined dramatically. By contrast, however, life years lost from birth problems – especially prematurity, infection, and labor complications – have proportionally grown. And persisting throughout these fifteen years are the perennial threats to children from pneumonia, diarrhea and malaria. By 2015 the causes of DALYs lost have changed to these:

 

Mobile worldwide health patterns demand response with mobile priorities. And, appropriate priority adjustments by healthcare leaders demands that our data apps, so to speak, are indeed up-to-date,. Let me invite you to update your own understanding of today’s worldwide health by taking advantage of the INMED International Public Health Self-Pace Course, 2nd Edition.

 

Does Better Health Lead To Overpopulation?

February 9th, 2018 by Nicholas Comninellis
Posted in International Public Health|

 

It’s a timeless position, one that Ebenezer Scrooge advanced way back in 1843: “If he (Tiny Tim) be likely to die, he had better do it,” said Scrooge, “and decrease the surplus population.” More recently, skeptics of efforts to improve worldwide health have similarly argued that with less death around the globe, populations would skyrocket – further diminishing availability of seemingly limited resources that we must all share. Is this scary proposition actually true? What does the world health data actually reveal?

 

An objective assessment of the relationship between worldwide health and overpopulation demonstrates exactly the opposite. In a brilliantly simply analysis, Does Saving More Lives Lead To Overpopulation, Bill Gates describes how improving health actually leads to pure numbers of births and populations that grow more slowly. As economies in advance and fewer children die, parents favor smaller family sizes. The nation of Angola, where I serve each summer, has both both some of the world’s highest child mortality and highest populations growth. Contrast this with Japan, where child mortality is extraordinarily small and population growth is actually declining.

 

Scrooge, the accountant, got his numbers wrong. Saving Tiny Tim’s life would actually reduce the population.

 

What’s Your Take On Serving People?

February 2nd, 2018 by Nicholas Comninellis
Posted in INMED Action Steps For You|

 

What’s your pearl about serving? What wisdom can you share about this virtue? Please come join myself and the full INMED community on Thu-Fri, April 12-13 for the 2018 Humanitarian Health Conference, where our theme this year is the Art of Serving.

 

Here, all of us – healthcare professionals, students of all sorts, and even non-healthcare people – will exchange our insights, experience hands-on learning and meet in-person the inspiring leaders of volunteer service organizations. On the conference’s second day, take advantage of full-day certificate courses in Ultrasound, Helping Babies Breathe, Humanitarian Relief, Basic Life Support in Obstetrics (BLSO), Community Development, and Global Missions. Continuing education (CE) credit and CME is available.

 

If you missed out last year, here are the 2017 Conference Photos and the 2-minute Conference Highlights Video from this 14th annual event.

 

I hope you’ll come! Please use discount code “HHC10” when Registering (this will save 10% on the cost of participation). Are you an undergraduate or health professions student? Message me to learn about scholarships to cover your registration. What’s your take on serving people? I’ll look forward to talking with you!

 

Is ‘Global Health’ The Best Term?

January 26th, 2018 by Nicholas Comninellis
Posted in Healthcare Education|

 

Imagine this situation: You are a healthcare educator approached by enthusiastic learners who deeply desire opportunities serve the world’s poor and marginalized. So, you create a curriculum complete with both core cognitive skills and service participation in your community. The announcement is imminent. You’ve only one final decision to make: What will you name this course or learning experience?

 

Since around 2000, we healthcare educators and front-lines service professionals have been flooded with appeals for learning opportunities that engage a spectrum of humanity: disabled persons, refugees, immigrants, indigenous peoples, rural residents, inner city residents, minorities, women, children, disaster survivors, prisoners, Africans, Asians, Latin Americans, and those afflicted with particular diseases like HIV, TB, malaria, obstetric fistula, guinea worm, filariasis, and so on.

 

What all-encompassing term is most appropriate for this subject? First of all, the dilemma is complex because the subject matter is vast, with new elements being steadily added. Some terms in use gained popularity: international health, global health, and health for all. An article in the journal Global Health Action provides some insights into this dilemma.

 

Is global health the best term? In short, no, it is not. But there exists no ideal term, and those in use will undoubtedly evolve over time. What they all hold in common is to focus attention on the needs of especially marginalized, vulnerable people. As long as intention remains in focus, our objective is attained – event without an ideal term.

 

Haitians Aided in Puerto Rico – It’s True!

January 19th, 2018 by Nicholas Comninellis
Posted in Disaster Management|

 

In an inspiring paradigm shift, healthcare professionals from the island nation of Haiti journeyed to the island territory of Puerto Rico, providing emergency disaster assistance. Parallel to the Haitian earthquake of 2010, Hurricane Maria unleashed devastation on Puerto Rico on September 20, 2017. In the aftermath, almost every family was without electricity, safe drinking water, shelter or telecommunications. And in a defining act of compassion, a team of Haitian doctors, nurses and logistics personnel rapidly deployed via assistance through Kansas City-based Heart to Heart International.

 

How did the Haitians perform in a new country facing grave crisis? They enjoyed several advantages over most North American. Haitians are already accustom to practicing low resource healthcare – exactly the circumstances they faced in Puerto Rico, with little in the way of laboratory, imaging, work consultants. Haitians are also very familiar with Caribbean culture – the norms and expectations found throughout that region – so they could speak effectively to their patient’s health needs. And, Haitians are comfortable with the unique diseases, such as viral Chikungunya, that are common in the Caribbean but almost unknown to North American healthcare professionals.

 

How were the Haitians received in Puerto Rico? Josue Andre, Director of Programs for Heart to Heart International, declared, ““People see us coming, and they start crying, saying: ‘Oh, we’re so glad you’re here. You came from Haiti to help us. Thank you, thank you, thank you.’”

 

What Is The Measure Of Greatness?

January 12th, 2018 by Nicholas Comninellis
Posted in Global Health News & Inspiration|

 

An energetic debate is underway over the character and definition of greatness.  We witness this debate being played out in foreign and economic policy, in judicial ruling, social media postings, and statements from Atheists to Zionists. In the midst of this debate, some are angry, jubilant, and almost everyone concerned.

 

For perspective, debate over the measure of greatness is nothing new. Europe in the 1930 was consumed with similar questions: Is greatness defined by military power? Is it measured by kindness and compassion? Is greatness a virtue to determined by justice? Justice on whose terms?

 

The aftermath of the European debate is unmistakable. 50-80 million people died (roughly the population of the UK), including some 20 million civilians, like you and I, from starvation. Least our debate today degenerate into similar catastrophe, shall we pause for a moment of perspective from the only person in history to return to life after being killed? Do you recall Jesus Christ’s measure of greatness?

 

Jesus and his disciples traveled to Capernaum, as recorded in Mark 9:33-37. At the house, He asked them, “What were you discussing on the way?” But they were silent, for on the way they had been arguing with each other which of them was the greatest. Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the last of all and the servant of all.” Then He had a little child stand among them. Taking the child in His arms, He said to them, “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in My name welcomes Me, and whoever welcomes Me welcomes not only Me, but the One who sent Me.”

 

For today’s debate, what are the implications of this measure of greatness?

 

Healthcare Skill Is Just One Generation Deep

January 5th, 2018 by Nicholas Comninellis
Posted in Healthcare Education|

 

The most remarkable element of my career continues to be my outstanding colleagues, including Jackey Tong in China, Lawand Talal in Iraq, Fred Loper in Shawnee, Oklahoma, and in this photo, Steve Foster in Angola, southern Africa. Each is skilled, devoted and compassionate. And, each enjoys a maximum service span of just forty or fifty years.  Who will replace such fine individuals?

 

The special passion of INMED is to prompt healthcare personnel to consider intentional service to benefit our world’s least-powerful people, and to give them the skills to be effective and durable in this career-long pursuit.

 

Healthcare skill is indeed just one generation deep. Consider for a moment your own roles and responsibilities. What chaos would occur should you be suddenly absent? What special skill or insight have you attained that risks becoming lost? What action could you be taking today to inspire and equip those who will ultimately carry on the duties entrusted to you?

 

INMED For Nurses: The DINPH Credential

December 29th, 2017 by Nicholas Comninellis
Posted in INMED Action Steps For You|

Nurses enjoy wonderful reputations for compassion and action. INMED now offers the professional Diploma in International Nursing & Public Health (DINPH) to further enhance nurse’s credentials and skills in serving the world’s most poor.

 

DINPH qualification has two parts. First is an International Nursing & Public Health Hybrid Course that includes the most common yet unfamiliar diseases. The next courses begin online on Jan 1, Jan 15, and March 12. Here are the specific Dates and Locations.

 

The second part is a service-learning experience at an INMED Training Site in one of 8 developing nations under the guidance of an experienced nurse mentor. Read here about current INMED learners experiences at their training sites.

 

What do INMED Nursing Participants have to say about learning with us? What are INMED alumni are doing today? Is the DINPH available to nursing students? Yes!

 

Please consider this bold and unique career advancement opportunity! I look forward to addressing your questions.  Contact me, Nicholas Comninellis, via nicholas@inmed.us or 816-520-6900.

 

What Is The World’s Most Universal And Deadly Infection?

December 8th, 2017 by Nicholas Comninellis
Posted in International Public Health, Low-Resource Healthcare Pearls|

 

In the United States and Europe, not so long ago the words TB were interpreted similarly to the way AIDS and cancer often are today. TB meant fear, suffering and death. And no wonder. This aggressive lung infection caused people to cough up blood, alienate their friends and family over fear of transmission, and ultimately suffocate to death.

 

But the forgotten fear of yesteryear is deceptive. Today, around the world fully one person in three is infected with TB, 2.3 billion people, making it the world’s most universal infection. And about 10 percent, roughly the population of the United States, will develop the disease badly enough to need treatment. But these afflicted people rarely have access to the treatment resources we enjoy in the United States. Instead, they most commonly live in Africa, Pakistan, India, China, and Indonesia – locales that are broadly under-resourced.

 

What can be done to combat the ongoing TB epidemic? With today’s current technology, TB can usually be treated with success. But the key is early detection and completion of the prescribed treatment. Lapses in disease reconnaissance and treatment follow up require renewed diligence. New technologies also hold promise, especially for development of more effective TB vaccines. Let’s actively cheer on those leading the charge against our world’s most deadly and universal infection!

 

“Serving The Poor Is Evidence You Are Strong”

December 1st, 2017 by Nicholas Comninellis
Posted in INMED Training Sites In Action|

 

“We who are weak are focused on ourselves. We don’t have the capacity to improve the plight of others.” Dr. Pangyan was in northeastern China making his appeal to recruit physicians for the LIGHT medical care team. They looked on doubtfully and inquired, “What sort of capacity?” Pangyan explained, “Sometimes we lack skill, health, money, or time. But more often the missing capacity is vision: we don’t see or feel the distress in people around us. But if you are strong in vision, even without much money or time, you can serve the poor!”

 

Dr. Pangyan speaks from experience. He leads a cadre Chinese nurses, physicians and therapists who focus on caring for underprivileged persons in their city of eight million, people who are disabled, elderly, HIV-infected, and from ethnic minorities. Pangyan is not well paid by China’s standards, but what he lacks in financial capacity, he compensates in enthusiasm.

 

“Why are you so committed to this cause?” asked his potential recruits. Pangyan replied with a scripture from 1 John 3, “‘If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.'” Pangyan expounded, “We who are so utterly blessed with vision should be serving the poor. It is humble evidence that we are actually strong.”