Final Post – Climate Change

I mistakenly thought that my last post was my concluding one, so this post will be one looking forward towards one of the greatest challenges we will face as a global community: climate change.

Climate change is an issue that threatens human health, the stability of nations, the stability of ecosystems and much more (McMichael 2013). The majority of the scientific community and many major players on a global scale have acknowledged these risks (McMichael 2013, USAID 2016, Davenport 2016, The Local 2015).

USAID has gotten involved and already has instituted programs to help prepare for the problems that have yet to come (USAID 2016). Like other sources, USAID encourages climate mitigation (USAID 2016, McMichael 2013). USAID has also advocated for the preservation of biodiversity, reforestation and securing land tenure rights to help preserve peoples’ livelihoods (USAID 2016).

But is this enough? Some remain skeptical (The Local 2015). In December of 2015, nations from all over the world met in Paris to negotiate some kind of climate agreement to reduce the future potential increase in temperature (The Local 2015, Davenport 2016). Although the climate talks in Paris were widely celebrated, there was still a lot left to be resolved (The Local 2015, Davenport 2016). The U.S. wanted to agreement to be completely voluntary so that the agreement didn’t have to be passed through Congress (The Local 2015). China was concerned about raising the quality of life for its developing nation while still meeting its carbon emissions reductions goals (The Local 2015). The negotiator present form India emphasized that whatever changes were proposed, they should be affordable so that all countries can meet their emissions reductions goals (The Local 2015).

It’s clear that creating an agreement was incredibly challenging (The Local 2015). Many feared a repeated of the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Talks that did not have any clear, established and agreed upon path forward (The Local 2015). The way all of these conflicts were solved was by offering countries the opportunity to update their emissions goals every five years (The Local 2015). Many countries fear that reducing or discouraging the use of fossil fuels will harm their economies (The Local 2015, Davenport 2016).

Many assume that reducing carbon emissions will reduce economic growth (Davenport 2016, The Local 2015). This assumption is logical since the U.S. began utilizing fossil fuels at the same time that it started to become a global player (Davenport 2016). However, in the last several years, more than twenty countries have shown that their rate of carbon pollution and rate of economic growth no longer directly correlate (Davenport 2016).

In the United States between 2000 and 2014, carbon dioxide emissions decreased 16% (Davenport 2016). Economic growth increased 9% (Davenport 2016).

Only 21 countries have achieved the same as the U.S. and almost 175 countries haven’t (Davenport 2016). GDP and carbon emissions still positively correlate on a global scale (Davenport 2016).

So what do we do about that? The Paris Climate talks are hoping for no more than a 2C increase in temperature (The Local 2015). Despite this, USAID and other organizations are encouraging preparation and mitigation (USAID 2016, McMichael 2013).

USAID has helped nearly a million people worldwide better manage natural resources in a more sustainable way (USAID 2016). They have also encouraged multiple countries in Africa to strengthen the way they protect land tenure so people have have security in their ability to access natural resources (USAID 2016). More specifically climate change related, USAID has a group of 20 countries working on a project to increase economic growth without increasing emissions (USAID 2016).

It’s clear that no one has come up with the answer to global climate change (McMichael 2013, USAID 2016, Davenport 2016, The Local 2015). However, many organizations are working to do something (McMichael 2013, USAID 2016, Davenport 2016, The Local 2015). Climate change will be a very challenging problem that poses a threat to not just our environment, but the very food on our plates and the stability of our nations (McMichael 2013, USAID 2016, Davenport 2016, The Local 2015). Climate change is one of the future issues we will have to face in International Development and we will have to do so collaboratively, as a compassionate global community (McMichael 2013, USAID 2016, Davenport 2016, The Local 2015).

 


Work Cited

McMichael, Anthony J. “Globalization, climate change, and human health.” New England Journal of Medicine 368.14 (2013): 1335-1343.

USAID. “Environment and Global Climate Change.” USAID. U.S. Agency for International Development, 21 Mar. 2016. Web. 14 Apr. 2016. <https://www.usaid.gov/what-we-do/environment-and-global-climate-change>. 

Davenport, Coral. “Can Economies Rise as Emissions Fall? The Evidence Says Yes.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 06 Apr. 2016. Web. 14 Apr. 2016. <http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/06/upshot/promising-signs-that-economies-can-rise-as-carbon-emissions-decline.html>.

The Local. “After Paris Climate Accord – Now What?” The Local. The Local, 13 Dec. 2015. Web. 14 Apr. 2016. <http://www.thelocal.fr/20151213/after-paris-climate-accord-now-what>

A Concluding Post – Looking at TB in Vietnam

Many people are quick to be critical of international development (McMichael 2012). Some believe that the Development Program was an mean spirited initiative to increase corporate profits of transnational corporations at the expense of lives in developing nations (McMichael 2012). It is true that many in developing nations have suffered, but perhaps it isn’t for the reasons many people think it is (McMichael 2012).

The purpose of my blog posts has been to help guide people away from knee-jerk reactions against development and to think more deeply about the issues that we’re facing. My first post was an introductory one. My second was a post contrasting and discussing two economic systems. My third was somewhat of a cast study on a GMO crop. The conclusions of all of these posts was to walk through the facts and examples instead of developing opinions without first considering other factors related to problems and other perspectives.

This post will focus on the more humanitarian side of development: treating disease. I’d hope that many people aren’t be against the U.S. helping to fight disease in developing nations… But you never know…

Four hundred children die every day from tuberculosis in Vietnam (Viet Nam News 2016). Someone in Vietnam dies of tuberculosis every twenty minutes (USAID 2012). There are 130,000 new cases every year and 17,000 deaths from the disease (View Nam News 2016). To compare, 555 people died of tuberculosis in the US in 2013 (CDC 2015). Some estimate that there are as many as 180,000 new cases of tuberculosis annually in Vietnam (USAID 2012).

So what exactly is TB? Tuberculosis, or TB, is a bacterial infection (McNiel 2016). This bacteria spreads from person to person through the air (from coughing, sneezing) and finds its way to the lungs, where it takes up residence and begins tearing apart lung tissue (McNiel 2016). TB spreads even more quickly in crowded areas like jails or densely populated housing (McNiel 2016).

TB is a completely treatable disease (McNiel 2016, USAID 2012, Viet Nam News 2016, Johansson 2000, CDC 2015). The most effective treatment is a structured course of alternating four antibiotics over a six month period (McNiel 2016).

Twenty-five years ago in Vietnam, this problem was even worse with 600 people diagnosed with TB out of very 100,000 (McNiel 2016). This number is now down to 200 diagnosed cases per 100,000 people (McNiel 2016). TB kills more people annually than HIV/AIDS (McNiel 2016). TB also kills more women every year than complications from childbirth (Johansson 2000).

Vietnam has the twelfth highest rate of TB in the world (USAID 2012). Eight percent of TB patients are also infected with HIV (USAID 2012).

There are a multitude of reasons for why TB is such a problem in Vietnam, but social pressures against seeking care are a big factor (Johansson 2000).

Men often wait until the disease is no longer able to be hidden or until they can’t complete daily tasks before they seek treatment (Johansson 2000). This is because many men are considered the “pillar of the family” (Johansson 2000, pg. 42). They feel pressured to continue to provide and stay strong for their families (Johansson 2000).

Women often delay seeking help for different social reasons (Johansson 2000). They believe that if people know they have the disease, their husbands may divorce them or they may bring shame to family members (Johansson 2000). Women also keep diagnosis of TB a secret because they worry about harming the marriage prospects of their children (Johansson 2000).

There are also problems relating to rural populations (Johansson 2000, McNiel 2016). Many report negative experiences with rural TB clinics (Johansson 2000). Officials also recognize that a heroin addiction problem in rural populations of poppy farmers makes it harder for TB infected people to access care (McNiel 2016).

Alternatively, urban areas have many TB clinics because of a national health program (McNiel 2016, Johansson 2000). Under the national health program, TB treatment drugs are free (Johansson 2000). However, visits to a doctor and hospitalization are not covered and are an out of pocket expense (Johansson 2000). A study found that positive staff attitudes in the healthcare setting are very important to encourage people to seek treatment (Johansson 2000). The same study suggests gender sensitive strategies and campaigns to encourage people to seek healthcare (Johansson 2000).

So what is the U.S. doing to help? Are U.S. corporations taking advantage of the healthcare situation to grow their own profits?

No.

More than one out of every three dollars spent to reduce rates of TB in Vietnam comes from the U.S. Government (also known as American tax dollars); not money from private American corporations (McNiel 2016).

USAID began a program in 2012 to help this problem (USAID 2012). Before this program, clinics could test for TB and drug resistant TB, but getting results back could take several months (USAID 2012). To address this, USAID provided seventeen testing systems and twelve thousand testing cartridges to thirteen provinces in Vietnam (USAID 2012). Testing could now be done in a matter of hours instead of months (USAID 2012). This program was highly successful and also involved training almost six hundred Vietnamese technicians to administer a higher quality of care for patients (USAID 2012).

The Country of Vietnam also instituted its own program called “Breath for Life” in areas with high rates of TB and HIV (Viet Nam News 2016). This program involved training Vietnamese healthcare workers to better identify the disease and how to more effectively refer patients to the care they needed (Viet Nam News 2016). The American company Johnson & Johnson also got involved to help with this program (Viet Nam News 2016). This program was a very effective and strong example of the public and private sector working together to improve the health of the population (Viet Nam News 2016).

So what are we left to think? This blog assignment has been a small piece of a much bigger picture, but I hope that it has left my audience with the thought that sometimes its best to take a step back, consider multiple perspectives and think beyond the quick judgement that development is always bad for developing nations (McMichael 2012).

Vietnam now has the tools to cure 75% of patients with drug resistant TB and 90% of patients diagnosed with non-drug resistant TB which is much higher than the 50% global average (McNiel 2016).

Work Cited

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “TB Fact Sheet.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 24 Sept. 2015. Web. 07 Apr. 2016. <http://www.cdc.gov/tb/publications/factsheets/statistics/tbtrends.htm>

Johansson, E., et al. “Gender and tuberculosis control: perspectives on health seeking behaviour among men and women in Vietnam.” Health policy52.1 (2000): 33-51.

McMichael, Phil. 2012. Development and Social Change: A global perspective. 5th edition. Los Angeles: Sage Publications

Mcneil, Donald G. “Vietnam’s Battle With Tuberculosis.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 28 Mar. 2016. Web. 06 Apr. 2016. <http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/29/health/vietnam-tuberculosis.html>.

USAID. “Vietnam Completes Roll-out of U.S.-Supported Rapid Detection TB Equipment.” Vietnam Completes Roll-out of U.S.-Supported Rapid Detection TB Equipment. USAID, 1 Nov. 2012. Web. 6 Apr. 2016. <https://www.usaid.gov/vietnam/press-releases/vietnam-completes-roll-out-us-supported-rapid-detection-tb-equipment>.

Viet Nam News. “Project to Help Prevent TB Infections Among Children.” Viet Nam News. Viet Nam News, 25 Feb. 2016. Web. 6 Apr. 2016. <http://vietnamnews.vn/society/health/282829/project-to-help-prevent-tb-infections-among-children.html>.