I enrolled in this course because I am a passionate , engaged, and very inquisitive economics and public health student and I want to see the impact I can make on the world as an individual, rather than the grade I can earn as a student in the classroom. I traveled to Accra with Lehigh’s Health and Globalization in Ghana class in summer 2017 and got to study the Ghanaian approach to mental healthcare and stigma behind mental illness. I learned a lot about the gaps in the healthcare system, and then I went home and continued on with my life. I know that change needs to happen there, but I was not able to help facilitate any of it. The GSIF program is so incredible because it allows eager students like myself to initiate change where it is needed. The opportunity to make a difference in something I care about was presented to me, and I knew that I needed to dive in. I am so excited to be apart of the Malnutrition in Sierra Leone project and getting to know likeminded individuals from different academic backgrounds.
I know that this course will make me a better economics student. I am currently enrolled in Microfinance: Inclusion for the Poor and Health Economics, and I believe that these courses pair with my work in GSIF very nicely. Microfinance is about helping the poor to lift themselves out of poverty by giving them resources, and that is exactly what the malnutrition project (and all creative inquiry projects) are intended to do. I am very excited to see how my knowledge in microfinance helps me learn about my project, and also to see how my real world experience in my project helps me to contextualize my classwork. I also believe my health economics course compliments my project. Health economics is different than traditional economics because of methods of delivery, incentives, and the way that healthcare is organized. I expect to use knowledge of health economics and traditional economics in my research for my project, and I believe that this real life application will be very beneficial to my overall understanding of economics. Additionally, I know that this course will make me a better public health student. I have participated in several “extracurricular” public health experiences and taken several HMS classes, and have even traveled to a developing country to see healthcare in action, but I have never gotten to put my knowledge to real use. I am very passionate about public health and health equity, and I believe that this experience will fuel my passion and make me a better learner and leader in the healthcare industry.
This question made me think of the map we saw in class today that showed where in the world doctors are located. There is a surplus of doctors in the United States, but so many people in developing countries are suffering from illnesses. Vision impairment is a very important example of this. One thing that the US government (and governments in other developed countries) could do is subsidize medical school in order to create a larger demand for medical education. This would increase the amount of optometrists in the United States. Next, the government could further subsidize medicals school in exchange for a contract that the optometrist would work in Kenya for a specific period of time. The government could provide living accommodations, food, and a significant stipend. Although expensive in the short run, there would be a huge long run benefit because Kenyans would become more productive members of society. They would be contributing to the economy and theoretically Kenya should see progress toward development. To increase the availability of eye glasses, the cost of production needs to be reduced so that glasses can be sold at a lower price. People can donate their old frames and then engineers can work on creating cheaper lenses. Additionally, if there are not enough old frames, engineers can create a low cost frame made of plastic to put the lenses into. It is vital for a healthcare system to be able to provide eyeglasses to everybody who needs them. Even if there are optometrists who can write prescriptions for eyeglasses, it is the glasses themselves that will allow Kenyans to be productive members of society.