I have time for reflecting as I await my flight home from a global health trip after almost two years of virtual collaborations. The work was strenuous but absolutely fulfilling.
A number of people ask why I created and participate in global health training and programs and I explain that global health contributes to global security. A nation with individuals who are sick and unhealthy are usually unable to contribute fully to the economy of their local communities. When the local community suffers, it eventually affects the regions and then their nation. T
his can lead to communities disenfranchised with their governments which can in turn lead to dysfunction and political unrest.
Make no mistake, if one country is having issues with regards to their security, it will eventually affect other countries. Misery loves company.
The other reason I believe in global health programs is that they allow one to collaborate and create innovative solutions to problems that each participant is having at their own site. Learning from resource poor nations on how best to provide medical care in remote locations or areas with decreased access due to socioeconomic factors helps inform what we do in the United States for similar issues in our rural and access deficient urban areas.
I am eager to share with the folks back home that the areas we served in the past 3 days had a greater than 90% vaccination rate against Covid. And many people continue to use the other preventive measures of masking, hand hygiene and social distancing.
It is not enough for us to just care for “our own”. What the pandemic has magnified for us is that health issues affecting one country eventually affects other countries. So caring for our patients locally, nationally and internationally helps protect our economy and our security.
We need to be our brother’s keeper.
And vice versa.