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Medical Practices In Third World Countries

1030 words - 4 pages

The Global Health Council, in its article Infectious Diseases cites “poverty, lack of access to health care, antibiotic resistance, evolving human migration patterns, new infectious agents, and changing environmental and developmental activities” as the contributing agents of the widespread of disease within third-world nation. While these agents are unquestionable in their own right, one more agent – that can possibly be derived from the above agents – needs to be added to their ranks. This agent is the lack of faith in western medical system within third-world nations. Medicine (or medical systems) in developing nations is a second-rate affair (without the effectiveness seen in first-world nations) that, rather than diminish, enforces a lack of faith and trust in western medical practices.
Medicine in the west is a success; millions of people live relatively disease-free lives. Developing an idea that Bradley Lewis presents in The New Global Health Movement: Rx for the World? – that “health-care systems are becoming similar”-, many people view the success of medicine in the west and want to replicate it in third world countries. These people, and/or organizations, establish hospitals and clinics that are direct replicas of those seen in countries such as the United States without realizing (or ignoring) that many developing nations cannot afford the maintenance costs of the hospitals or clinics. Maintenance of health-care system in the United States is partly paid for by medical visits, which on average is about five hundred dollars per visit. In third-world countries many people simply cannot afford such cost. In Zimbabwe in 2008, the GDP per capita was two hundred dollars; in Liberia last year (2009) it was five hundred dollars. Unable to afford such cost, many people of third world countries either do not pay for their visits or decide to live without. Not having a sufficient number of patients, the medical systems within third world countries have to fall back on second-hand equipment, rather than newer better ones, and a lessened amount of medical professionals (who may or may not be sufficiently trained). The lack of the ability to maintain medical systems contributes to the general lack of faith in western medicine.
Many people can notice the cycle at play here. The people of third-world nations cannot afford the costs of medical visits which negatively affect the maintenance (and performance) of the health care system. This, in turn, diminishes faith or trust in western models of medicine, leading to avoidance of western medical services, increased occurrence of disease and eventually, death. In the article mentioned above by The Global Health Council, we are presented with charts that detail the distribution of infectious diseases in the world. Many of these diseases, which include HIV/AIDS, lower respiratory infections, diarrheal disease, tuberculosis, malaria, and a few others, are easily treatable in western hospitals or...

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