Eradication of HIV on May 30!

January 26th, 2024 by INMED
Posted in INMED Action Steps For You|

 

Eradication of HIV? In the 1980s, 90s, and 2000s, who would’ve imagined this possibility? Yet with very recent advancements in antiretroviral therapy and healthcare delivery systems, epidemiological research confirms this rousing prospect!

 

I want to invite you to join me for the Eradication of HIV presentation on May 30-31 at the Humanitarian Health Conference in Kansas City. Diane Petrie, HIV nurse practitioner at Children’s Mercy Hospital, will illuminate the science, actions steps, and inevitable obstacles towards eliminating this infection – one that continues to kill 630, 000 each year, including 20,000 in the USA.

 

Eradication of hunger?  Pediatrician Hibba Haider will draw on her experience in Pakistan to illuminate interventions against chronic malnutrition and stunting. You can also learn from her emergency management of hunger through preparing and staging nutritionally condensed food.

 

Eradication of war injury deaths? Roxanne Jones of Global Care Force will guide you through the principles of triage, emergency medical intervention, and evacuation – all within the frightening setting of armed conflict, with its accompanying limited resources, personal dangers, and psychological trauma.

 

Eradication of cholera? Duane Spaulding of Heart-to-Heart International will explain not only the management of this deadly disease, for which of the world’s population is at risk, but also the proven modalities to prevent cholera disease, including for outside volunteers like you.

 

Eradication of health professions drudgery? Mike Chupp, CEO of Christian Medical Dental Associations, will rally your vision to multiply your skill among younger personnel through addressing “The Vows of Effective Healthcare Mentoring”, helping return us to the enthusiasm which first drew us into these caring professions.

 

Arrive a day early, on May 29, and sharpen your skills with CME-accredited hands-on one-days courses in newborn resuscitation, complicated obstetrics, wound care, disaster management, OB ultrasound, and ultrasound for primary care.

 

Humanitarian Health Conference registration is just $160 until the price bump on February 29. Students, access a 90% discount by emailing Leda Rivera.

 

In the meantime, which health problem do you wish to eradicate? Please message me your thoughts: [email protected]

 

What is the World’s Most Dangerous Animal?

January 12th, 2024 by INMED
Posted in International Public Health|

 

Intuitively, we think of sharks and bears. Snakes, scorpions, dogs, and crocodiles also score among perceived deadly animals. But deaths from such creatures are minuscule compared to the number of humans who die from mosquito-transmitted diseases. Chief among these is malaria, killing about 750,000 people per year – almost twice the number of homicides worldwide. And which people are most likely to die? Mainly African preschool children and pregnant women.

 

I was laboratory diagnosed with malaria at least three times: once in Honduras in the 1980 and twice in Angola in 2005 and 2014. With each illness I suffered devastating fatigue, chills, and nausea. In the most recent episode, our hospital had run out of first line therapy, artemether-lumefantrine (Coartem), prompting a diligent search of the entire city for this life-saving drug. I was a fortunate one, who located the drug, and in time recovered. Meanwhile, Angola’s health ministry reports about 12,000 known deaths each year.

 

This week, the World Health Organization announced a major advance in control of malaria: rollout of a second vaccine in Ghana, Nigeria and Burkina Faso. The R21 vaccine is for children living in areas at high-risk for malaria transmission. This vaccine reduces symptomatic cases by 75% during the first year following a 3-dose series. A fourth dose is recommended a year later to sustain effectiveness. The R 21 vaccine has proven safe in objective clinical trials, and the cost is just $2-4 per dose. Some 28 African nations have announced plans to incorporate either R21 or the original malaria vaccine, RTS,S, into their nationwide health programs.

 

All this said, we must also continue to be diligent to maintain the most fundamental malaria prevention steps: elimination of standing water, DEET mosquito repellants, use of insecticide-treated mosquito nets and indoor residual spraying with insecticides – all in our battle against the world’s most dangerous animal!

What Are Diseases Of War?

December 29th, 2023 by INMED
Posted in International Health News & Inspiration|

 

Diseases of poverty? Very familiar. Diseases of affluence? Quite conventional. But what do we know about diseases of war? And, what is the key to controlling them?

 

For two years I worked in the nation of Angola, suffering the longest running war in modern African history. Villagers with traumatic amputation from land mines arrived almost daily at our 100-bed hospital. Gunshot wounds to the extremities were common, but not wounds to the torso. These people usually died on site. But far and beyond, the most common conditions we encountered were the Three Ms of War: malaria, measles, and malnutrition. Successful malaria treatment existed but how could the drugs reach people living under siege? Measles vaccination was 95% effective, but who would carry the shots across landmine-laden fields to protect the children? Corn and beans grew easily, but who would resist the soldiers stealing these crops?

 

Impact of the Gulf Wars on Iraqi health is well documented. “Communicable diseases increased significantly during the peak years of the war, especially during the US troop surge period (2007–2009). As US troops withdrew (after 2011), overall communicable diseases decreased. The incidence rate of nearly half of the 32 diseases tracked decreased significantly (pneumonia, measles, diphtheria, neonatal tetanus, pertussis, and rubella), while the incidence rate of five increased significantly (hepatitis A, varicella, viral meningitis, cutaneous leishmaniasis, extrapulmonary tuberculosis).” The latter was perhaps due to more efficient disease reporting rather than actual disease frequency. http://tinyurl.com/yxv5pbuh

 

Since October 2023, we have witnessed horrendous civilian suffering and death connected with Hamas-Israel conflict. Multiple-source reports of hunger, homelessness, traumatic injuries, and highly contagious diseases evoke deeply felt concerns. More disturbing still, Gaza is home to 50,000 pregnant women, and 180 women in Gaza are delivering babies each day, but into what conditions?

 

In Angola, armed with meager resources, we worked diligently to fight malaria, measles, and malnutrition. No less could be said of heroic healthcare personnel in the Gulf Wars. But true progress against Angolan and Iraqi diseases of war was only realized once peace was achieved. No less can be said of eliminating the diseases of war in today’s bloody conflicts. To this end, we invoke Christ’s admonition Blessed are the peacemakers.

 

God Used INMED to Help Our Ghana Health Team

December 15th, 2023 by INMED
Posted in INMED Grads In Action|

 

“I have not really captured the multiple ways that God used the INMED Conference and Course to help the Ghana Health Team that Dr. Jennifer Wilson started and lead for so many years,” expresses Susan Fockler, Canadian pharmacist and 2014 INMED Graduate Diploma recipient.

 

  • “INMED Helping Babies Breath training we in turn taught to local health leaders throughout northern Ghana.
  • “Our INMED Service-Learning at Ghana’s Wenchi Hospital facilitated the recruitment of our  Medical Director for the new Leyaatta Hospital in Carpenter, northern Ghana.
  • “The medication list for our first mission was based on the one from Baptist Medical Center, INMED Service-Learning Site also in northern Ghana.

 

“While it wasn’t easy when the door to work in Ghana closed, God has made it very clear that my newer work in Uganda is his plan and purpose for me, as least in this season of my life and I am blessed to serve in this way. In early October I returned to northern Uganda to do some consulting work for the Pharmacy department of a large Catholic Hospital.  This was the 4th time that I have been there, and the first time since the pandemic. I was very excited to return.

 

“I think my biggest learning from INMED is to first observe and learn why things are done the way they are… then work with the local people to make improvements. I am reminded of Romans 8:28 “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

War At Christmas

December 1st, 2023 by INMED
Posted in International Health News & Inspiration|

“Christmas Truce” from the Illustrated London News, Jan 9, 1915 by A. C. Michael.

 

Such a disturbing phrase, “War at Christmas.” Our holiday season is sobered by news and images of immeasurable suffering in Israel and Gaza. Appearing just below these are headlines of the ongoing wars in Ukraine and Sudan. Almost forgotten but severe are the enduring conflicts in Yemen and Syria.

 

Who is most suffering as a result? Reputable analysis concludes that 74 to 90 percent of modern wars deaths are civilians. In the Iraq war, for example, figures from 2003 to 2013 indicate that of 174,000 casualties only 39,900 were combatants. Who were these other 134,100 civilians? Women and their children. What caused their deaths? Famine and infectious disease.

 

Warfare of course has afflicted humankind for millennia. Christ Jesus himself was born into a nation under military occupation. His parents were forced to migrate when mother Mary’s contractions began. And immediately thereafter, under threat of violence from the ruler, his family fled to another nation.

 

Given the history of humanity, War at Christmas seems inevitable. Yet Christ, the Prince of Peace, implores us:

 

Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. ~ Luke 6:27-31

 

Impossible to obey? History says otherwise. On Christmas Eve 1914, as depicted in this painting, a widespread spontaneous truce was declared among the weary soldiers of the First World War along the Western and Eastern fronts in Europe. The soldiers exchanged handshakes and gifts of food, drink, and clothing.

 

War at Christmas is not inevitable, especially when our work throughout the year for justice and reconciliation continues unabated. May our peacemaking in 2024 be redoubled by sincerity, humility and generosity – modeled by the Prince of Peace.

 

What Is Tropical Medicine Today?

November 16th, 2023 by INMED
Posted in Low-Resource Healthcare Pearls|

 

Malaria, schistosomiasis, ascariasis, Chagas disease, Dengue fever. As a young physician, I was fascinated with these classic tropical diseases. Part of the reason was humanitarian. I was acutely aware that a multitude of humanity continue to suffer from these severe, often preventable maladies. Another part of my fascination was esoteric. These are illness is largely unfamiliar to my colleagues, and I had gained some expertise in their intervention.

 

INMED’s core Graduate Certificate Course in International Medicine and Public Health equips learners with some basic skill to defend communities against tropical diseases. So prepared, mini INMED learners proceed to an International Service-Learning experience where they can apply the skills under the watchful guidance of an INMED preceptor.

 

But beyond the education of healthcare professionals, we at INMED also ask deeper questions about the very existence of such tropical diseases today. For example, such diseases are quite prevalent in Philippines, but are largely unknown in neighboring Singapore. What’s the difference? It’s all about economics.  Many communities in Philippines lack adequate housing, nutrition, safe water and medical care, while amid the relative wealth of Singapore these basic necessities abundant and are all but guaranteed.

 

Most tropical diseases are better identified as diseases of poverty. Wherever poverty exists – especially in warmer climates – these diseases usually flourish. But wherever economies are strong – even within warmer climates – such diseases are usually very well controlled. This truth should challenge health leaders to look beyond simple disease surveillance, diagnosis, and treatment.

 

What should be today’s highest tropical medicine priority, but a commitment to eliminating the greatest risk factor for its existence: poverty?

 

What Happened to the Baby Found Roadside?

November 3rd, 2023 by INMED
Posted in INMED Grads In Action|

 

“On my very first day in Baptist Medical Center in Ghana, the surgeon (who was my preceptor) visited a baby in the NICU who was found on the side of the road a few days before,” writes an INMED Graduate Diploma learner. “A neighbor had heard a noise, found the newborn baby bundled up, and ran to tell the doctor who had been shopping nearby with her sister. I took care of the little baby during my entire stay. He had a few small medical issues but was a healthy newborn when I left.”

 

Many INMED learners continue to feel close to their International Service-Learning Site after departing. A few weeks later this learner wrote, “Just yesterday, I received WhatsApp messages that the baby had been adopted. His new family had all, separately, prayed for a new baby. I am religiously Hindu, but I found such a deep spiritual connection with the many Christians around me. I have begun to understand the connection that many create with their higher power, especially when they have little else to rely on. I have a great respect for the people of Ghana and especially for those who work so hard to serve others at that hospital.”

 

INMED Graduates often discover that their experience informs their careers for years to come. She concludes, “I can’t wait to go back and continue helping in any way that I can.”

 

Who is 2023’s Comninellis Award for Compassionate Service to Humanity Recipient?

October 20th, 2023 by INMED
Posted in International Health News & Inspiration|

 

This award was established by the INMED Board of Directors to recognize people who demonstrate care and concern for those in need, who give selflessly of their time and resources, and who inspire others to take similar action.

 

The 2023 Comninellis Award for Compassionate Service to Humanity recipient is Rick Donlon. Dr. Donlon grew up in New Orleans, graduated from TCU, completed medical school at LSU, and did a combined Internal Medicine and Pediatrics residency at the University of Tennessee-Memphis.

 

What happened next marks a remarkable departure from a normal medical career. In 1995, he and three medical school classmates opened a primary-care center for the poor in Memphis’ most medically underserved neighborhood. What’s more, they moved into that neighborhood, where for the next 19 years he led Christ Community Health Services. A remarkable achievement – one often discussed by healthcare professionals, but rarely acted upon. Dr. Donlon also raised seven children and still lives in that neighborhood of Memphis, where he serves as an elder in their house church network.

The 2023 Humanitarian Crisis Response Award Winner Is…

October 6th, 2023 by INMED
Posted in Disaster Management|

 

This award recognizes individuals and organizations who provide exemplary disaster response services for highly vulnerable communities. In doing so, they accentuate the value of life and provide an exemplary model for us all.

 

The 2023 Humanitarian Crisis Response Award recipient is Blessings International. Since 1981, this Tulsa, Oklahoma-based, organization has been working to build healthy communities by serving as a reliable source of pharmaceuticals, vitamins, and medical supplies for mission teams, clinics, and hospitals. One focus of Blessings International’s work has been Ukraine, where 15 months into the war the Ministry of Health Ukraine reports 955 medical facilities damaged and 144 destroyed. Currently, 14 million Ukrainians lack even the most basic healthcare.

 

One of the most powerful interventions has been to supply oncology medicines to the National Cancer Institute in Kyiv, which ran out completely in the early weeks of the war. Another important Blessings International intervention has been to supply basic medications for Ukrainian refugees, who most often fled without their personal supply. Internally displaced within Ukraine, or as refugees in Poland, Blessings International has worked to supply partner organizations lifesaving medications to control, for example, hypertension, heart failure, and diabetes. One laudable reason for the risk response is the Emergency Disaster Relief Fund established in advance by Blessings International.

“Pace, Flexibility, Friendliness – Why I Study at INMED”

September 22nd, 2023 by INMED
Posted in INMED Grads In Action|

 

“As an international who has had the opportunity to visit, study, and practice in different countries around the world, I still learned a lot in the Master’s in International Health (MIH) Program of INMED,” shares Abiodun Akinwuntan, PhD, Dean of the University of Kansas School of Health Professions. “With the knowledge gained, I am even better prepared to significantly contribute to improving healthcare services in developing countries, and especially in those with very low financial resources. My global health experience and knowledge have certainly been broadened by my participation in the program. The pace, flexibility, and friendliness of the faculty and staff of the program are highly commendable. Despite my very tight official schedule, I was able to go through the program without much difficulty. I recommend the MIH program to anyone interested in global health and in working with underserved communities anywhere in the world.”

 

Dr. Akinwuntan is a physical rehabilitation specialist whose MIH Service-Learning and Scholarly Project center on acute post-stroke therapies in the setting of Nigeria. In the wake of greater control of infectious diseases, chronic diseases like hypertension, diabetes, and atherosclerotic vascular disease are leading to greater incidence of stroke, and also greater demand for expertise like that of Dr. Akinwuntan.

 

Post-MIH, what is next in the career of Dr. Akinwuntan? “My main motivation is to continue to excel in international health-related activities. I visit Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, Zambia, India, and Australia to explore more international health exchange opportunities for faculty and students as I effectively lead the University of Kansas to successfully undertake many new international health-related initiatives.”