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Selected Category: violence and injury

The Value of CDC’s Work in Thailand

Categories: global disease detection, global health security, health systems strengthening, HIV/AIDS, infectious disease, noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), refugee health, tuberculosis (TB), violence and injury

 

Thai monk

 

When I became country director in 2013 the relationships between Thailand’s public health officials and CDC were already strong and well established.

Mitch Wolfe, MD MPH, Director, CDC-Thailand

Mitch Wolfe, MD MPH, Director, CDC-Thailand

That wasn’t surprising. CDC’s collaboration with the Ministry of Public Health, after all, began 30 years ago and the partnership has been prospering  – and expanding – ever since. And there is a strong history between the two countries – this year Thailand and the US are celebrating 180 years of Friendship.

The reasons are well established too. And numerous.

Last summer, while visiting family, I was asked by a U.S. border guard, “Why is America working abroad for public health?” I was happy to get this question, as it was an opportunity to deepen understanding for why CDC works abroad – to protect Americans from health threats, to build important relationships with strategic partners, and to learn lessons that can be expanded to other parts of the world.

Fresh Voices From the Field: The Value of Our Global Health Work

Categories: child health, health systems strengthening, HIV/AIDS, noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), violence and injury, water, women's/maternal health

 

Chelsey Beane is pictured near the home of a traditional healer in Andruvu Village, in the Arua District of Uganda.

Chelsey Beane is pictured near the home of a traditional healer in Andruvu Village, in the Arua District of Uganda.

This is the fourth in our ongoing “Fresh Voices From the Field” series, where we hear from ASPPH (Association of School and Programs of Public Health) Global Health Fellows working throughout the world. Global Health Fellows are recent Master of Public Health or Doctoral graduates placed in CDC global health offices in Atlanta and abroad. They work on a range of priority public health issues and bring a fresh perspective to CDC’s efforts in the field. (See other “Fresh Voices” blogs.)

 

Chelsey Beane, MSPH, ASPH Fellow

Chelsey Beane, MSPH, ASPH Fellow

Working at CDC headquarters in Atlanta is an amazing experience. And yet, sometimes, you can feel disconnected from the real world impact of the science that we spend all day discussing, refining, communicating, and implementing. So I was extremely grateful to have the opportunity recently to travel to Uganda to assist the CDC country team with preparation for a visit by CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden.

Although I had read the statistics, knew about our programs, and had become familiar with the major health issues in the country, I left impressed and humbled by what I experienced. I visited a rural village that had a recent outbreak of plague, where I met a small girl who had been diagnosed with diabetes, desperately in need of care and treatment, but miles from the nearest health facility. I was welcomed into the home of a family living in a tiny enclosed hut, filled with smoke from a cooking fire by which two toddlers quietly sat, and truly understood the urgent need for clean cookstoves. I saw people living in rural villages, without access to clean water. But I also saw how efforts by CDC and its partners are making a huge impact, not just for the health system as a whole, but for individuals whose lives have been changed. I saw the implementation of growing laboratory systems in the country, that are improving diagnoses of diseases, such as early infant diagnosis of HIV, and more accurate diagnosis for tuberculosis. I heard the story of a young woman who was raped and became infected with HIV, but who later had two children, both of whom were born healthy. I saw an eRanger, or motorcycle ambulance, rush into a maternal health clinic, carrying a pregnant woman whose delivery would be attended by skilled health workers.

Saying YES for Children

Categories: child health, HIV/AIDS, mental health, violence and injury

 

Imagine that you woke up this morning and the newspaper headlines said that scientists had discovered a new disease. The scientists went on to report that over 1 billion children throughout the world were exposed to this disease each and every year. Furthermore the scientists reported that those exposed to this disease were at greater risk for mental illnesses like depression and anxiety disorders for the rest of their lives; also at greater risk for chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer; even at greater risk of infectious diseases like HIV, that are still often fatal in parts of the world; and, if that wasn’t enough, at greater risk for involvement in social problems such as crime and drug abuse over the course of their lifetimes. 

Courtesy of Nadia Todres, used with permission. www.nadiatodres.com

Courtesy of Nadia Todres, used with permission. www.nadiatodres.com

If we had such a disease, that was entirely preventable, what do you think we’d do? The truth is we do have such a disease — it’s called violence against children. And one of the first things we would do is measure it and use those measurements to propel effective and sustainable action. 

A Question for the Hero 

Shortly before my former neighbor Stan Foster retired at age 80 to spend time with his wife, he took me and several others working in the area of global child health out to lunch. For those who don’t recognize the name, Stan Foster is a public health hero famous for helping lead the global smallpox eradication campaign. In his typical hippo bowtie, smiling ear to ear, he listened attentively to our question, posed after relating the scenario above about the newspaper headlines. 

Focusing on Mental Health in a Humanitarian Crisis

Categories: child health, mental health, noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), refugee health, violence and injury

Barbara Lopes Cardozo, MD MPH, Medical Officer with the Emergency Response and Recovery Branch, Division of Global Health Protection (proposed)

Barbara Lopes Cardozo, MD MPH, Medical Officer with the Emergency Response and Recovery Branch, Division of Global Health Protection (proposed)

The Syrian refugee crisis has been two years in the making. It represents the culmination of the conflict between the Syrian government and its own people, a violent conflict that has greatly affected the civilian population and caused Syrians to flee in large numbers. Up to 1,000 people are now leaving the country each day; many are heading to Jordan but some have also fled to Turkey, Lebanon, and even Iraq. There is no end in sight as the conflict continues, and even if the regime were to fall, most people are pessimistic that violence would end immediately.

The Syrian refugee camp in Jordan is right along the border of the two countries. It is in the middle of the desert, a flat, featureless, dusty landscape that is hot in the summer and cold in the winter. I have seen many refugee camps throughout my career, and while this is certainly not the worst, it is not the best situation either. Many of the families in the camps are from Syria’s middle class, so they are not used to the rougher conditions and shared pit latrines. There have been sanitation problems as families, in attempts to avoid the communal toilets, have dug holes in their tents which end up flooding when it rains. Some are so unprepared for rough living that there have been reports of people creating open fires within their tents in efforts to keep warm. This is not a population familiar with this style of living, unlike African refugees, many of whom are used to moving from camp to camp.

CDC supports U.S. Government Action Plan on Children in Adversity

Categories: child health, HIV/AIDS, mental health, noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), violence and injury

Dr. Tom FriedenCDC welcomes the implementation of the U.S. Government Action Plan on Children in Adversity.  At the heart of the Action Plan is the dedication to reducing violence against children, along with its vast, common, destructive and preventable consequences, including HIV, chronic diseases, and mental health problems. CDC is committed to working alongside other USG agencies and an array of global partners to help assure that children not only survive, but also thrive, growing up in strong families, with safe, stable and nurturing relationships.  CDC’s work with Together for Girls, funded through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, is just one example of such partnerships.

CDC’s uniquely valuable contribution to the Action Plan consists in linking nationally representative survey data on the magnitude and impact of violence against children to effective, sustainable, and scalable Objective: Protect children from Violence, Exploitation, Abuse and Neglectprograms that reduce violence and its consequences.  The need for these Violence Against Children Surveys, which have been conducted in Swaziland, Kenya, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, and Haiti, is strong and growing.  The data from these surveys increase countries’ abilities to create and evaluate violence prevention efforts and to help victims and their families.

CDC will continue to support the objectives of the Action plan through partnerships that help nations around the world invest effectively in the futures of their children.

Thomas R. Frieden, MD, MPH
Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

 
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