Julie Potyraj's blog

Equality is not Equitable: An Important Distinction for Health Care

Mark Twain famously quipped the difference between the almost right word and the right word is “the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” This is an important lesson to remember during global health discussions which sometimes, incorrectly, interchange “equality” and “equity.” Let’s examine the two terms to understand their importance in planning and implementing global health programs.

GIS Mapping Technology for Humanitarian Relief

Nestled between the Truong Son mountains and the South China Sea, Quang Ngai Province is like much of Vietnam’s lush and untouched rural landscapes in that it is largely unmapped. Almost 8,000 miles away at the American Red Cross Headquarters in Washington, D.C., thousands of mapping volunteers or “armchair mappers” have been working diligently to change this. By tracing satellite imagery and adding features such as roads, hospitals, and rivers, volunteers are able to help create maps of some of the world’s most vulnerable people and places.

Mental Health, Psychosocial Support for Women in the Wake of Crisis

Natural disasters, armed conflict, and other humanitarian catastrophes affect millions of people around the world. They can result in emergency situations marked by extensive mortality and morbidity rates, mass displacement of people, malnutrition, disease, and the destruction of political, economic, and health care infrastructures. In 2015 alone, about 150 major natural disasters affected millions of people worldwide.

Occupational Health Hazards for Rural Agriculture

With the global demand for food expected to double by the year 2050, the role of farmers who produce the food is more significant than ever. Climate change is making their work increasingly difficult. We’ve already seen how climate change can impact food production through extreme weather, soil fertility, pestilence and crop yields.

Improving Global Health Through Mobile Technologies

Information and communications technology (ICT) has begun to infiltrate every aspect of the human experience. It is changing not only the way that we communicate and connect with one another, but how we access and deliver health services.

Health Information Systems in Developing Countries

Health Information Systems (HIS) are critical not only for assessing the health needs of populations, but also for planning, administration, and financial management of health interventions. The contributions of HIS are especially important in global health for low-income countries where inadequate health infrastructure, political uncertainty, and economic disruption require careful stewardship of valuable resources.

Latest Efforts Moving Us Closer to Global Polio Eradication

The world could soon witness what has been called one of the largest internationally coordinated public health efforts in history; the eradication of polio from the planet.

Harnessing the Power Positive Deviance

“Humanity's most valuable assets have been the non-conformists. Were it not for the non-conformists, he who refuses to be satisfied to go along with the continuance of things as they are, and insists upon attempting to find new ways of bettering things, the world would have known little progress, indeed.”  ~ Josiah William Gitt

Climate Change Action and the Critical Role of NGOs

Humanitarian crises over the last decade illustrate the concept of inequitable impacts of climate change. The 2011 Horn of Africa famine — caused by a two yearlong drought, a result of the La Niña weather pattern, killed 260,000 people. Typhoon Winston, the worst storm to ever hit Fiji, flattened villages just recently. And a three yearlong drought in Syria exacerbated unstable political conditions that resulted in Europe’s current migrant crisis.

Turning Public Health into Public Hysteria

Mass media is a powerful force. It serves the public’s best interests when the information it provides is timely, credible, and objective. However, when commercial needs – or media bias –  invade media messaging and content, it can potentially create more harm than good.

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