Support the ONE Campaign!

(Wikimedia)

ONE: Join the fight against extreme poverty.

What is it? An action-packed, real-results, no-nonsense campaign against poverty.

What are the issues?
– Budget cuts that would mean:
789,500 fewer life saving vaccines for children, leading to
8,400 more deaths from preventable diseases.
77,200 more AIDS orphans
39,200 more AIDS related deaths
54,000 fewer TB patients will receive treatment; leading to
4,200 more TB deaths
– Higher instances of diseases that are totally preventable
– Fighting against HIV/AIDS
– Making sure children get food and vaccines

What YOU can do:
Right now, put down that p-set, close your physics book, and save that HUM paper for later. Make your voice heard.
Tell the UN.
Share this on Facebook.
And Twitter.
And Tumblr. And e-mail. And any other social networking site! Go tell your friends and family!
Stand up against extreme poverty.

 

Best of luck with finals and have a wonderful break!

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What does the HIV/AIDS baby mean for the future of global health?

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A post by our internal co-president, Cindy Sui, on HIV/AIDS research and recent sequestration. Follow the links in her post to support global health outreach and let your voice be heard. 

What does the HIV/AIDS baby mean for the future of global health?

I think it’s amazing that a baby has been certifiably cured of HIV/AIDS. It’s a true tale of medical innovation – a little risk-taking, a dash of courage to break with convention, a little luck. Dr. Hannah B. Gay from the University of Mississippi Medical Center put this baby (whose name and gender are still both unknown) on HIV drug therapy only 30 hours after birth, even before tests had confirmed their HIV-positive status. Whether it was the promptness of the intervention or the specific drug regimen that birthed this remarkable cure, or both, it’s clear that we wouldn’t have found out if Dr. Gay hadn’t abandoned the conventional protocols for treatment.  And as for the place of luck – a trick of circumstance is the reason scientists were able to discover that this has the potential to be a permanent cure. After 18 months of drug therapy, the baby left the care of the hospital and his or her mother stopped adhering to the treatment regimen, which should have caused a relapse in disease. But they came back to the hospital five months later and Dr. Gay ran more tests, she discovered something astounding: the baby was still completely healthy. The intermittent treatment had stuck.

Scientists are debating and will continue to debate the veracity and importance of this “cure.” They are asking questions like: was the baby actually infected in the first place? Will the baby stay “cured” in the next year, the next ten years, the next fifty? How reproducible is this treatment in adults, or in patients with latent reservoirs of HIV? All of these questions are worthy of discussion and research. And the fact that this study from Mississippi has sparked off these new questions and investigations counts it as a win. This is an entirely new paradigm and hope for the HIV field.

But while this discovery is undoubtedly a step forward for the field, I shy away from celebrating too soon. The US government recently passed a mandate on the 2013 sequestration cuts (yes, the ones they punted on at the end of December), which – among other things – cuts funding to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) by $1.6 billion, and funding to global health programs at the State Department and USAID by over $432 million, according to a report from the Democratic members of the House Appropriations Committee. Since current research grants from the NIH are locked-in and must be fully funded until the end, these budget cuts will disproportionately affect the funding of new research, such as studies exploring the complexities of this baby’s recovery from HIV/AIDS. These NIH cuts are especially dangerous to the future of global health because the US government is the largest funder of global health research & development in the world, and NIH accounted for nearly 90% of US government spending on global health R&D. Furthermore, HIV/AIDS is a global pandemic, and as the US government is responsible for amajority of international AIDS assistance, this decrease in USAID & State Department funding has the potential to severely limit the spread and impact of a new treatment if one is discovered in the future. In the more immediate term, sequestration budget cuts of $293.8 million to the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and $138.6 million to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria are predicted to lead to 39,200 more AIDS-related deaths and 77,200 more children orphaned by AIDS-related deaths.

Yes, there is much hope for the future – proof that a permanent cure for HIV/AIDS could result from a year of treatment instead of a lifetime would revolutionize the economics of HIV programs all around the world. And yes, this discovery out of the University of Mississippi could spur non-profits and foundations to support more HIV research and global health programs than ever before, perhaps making up for the US government’s withdrawal. But the road ahead is still uncertain. And if in ten, twenty, fifty years, there is still no permanent cure to HIV/AIDS, or there are still millions of deaths in sub-Saharan Africa or Central Asia despite the existence of a cure, we must have the courage to face reality and understand that we are partly responsible for this failure, because of the (in)actions of our government and the (in)actions of ourselves, as citizens in influencing our government and as citizens who can independently build organizations and infrastructure in civil society.

There is still some hope for change on these blunt, across-the-board sequestration cuts. Although the mandate for these budget cuts was passed on March 1st, advocacy organizations such as Save the Children and ONE are gearing up for a fight in Washington DC. They’re mobilizing grassroots support to demand legislation to reverse these cuts by March 27th, because NIH & global health budget cuts actually do very little to decrease our federal deficit – they account for $2 billion out of an $85 billion sequestration, or only 2.35% – but these cuts would have immense human costs.

Here are three organizations mobilizing around the cuts to global health & international development funding:

But let’s also take a step back and consider the probable outcome that these sequestration cuts are here to stay. There is a bigger lesson to be learned here about the problematic reality of global health, which is that technology is not enough. Scientific advancement is not enough. If we want to keep our eye on the ball until there is a permanent cure to AIDS, and until every single human on Earth has access to such a cure, we need to build a social movement in the US around global health equity that can influence all sectors of society, whether government, non-profit or for-profit. Only this kind of cross-sector social movement will ensure that we do not shoot ourselves in the foot in one sector while hope blooms anew in another.

Knowledge and awareness is the beginning of such a movement, and informed dialogue is the beginning of change. So if you believe that we should end the suffering caused by HIV/AIDS, if you think the coincidence of this possible cure with the sequestration budget cuts is darkly ironic and should not pass unseen, here’s one more thing you can do right now – forward this story to your friends and family, to your entire social network. Spread this knowledge in tandem with the hope that has gone viral after the discovery from the University of Mississippi, and ask those in your network not only to celebrate this triumph but to face up to the context in which it exists. Perhaps even ask everyone in your network to perform one or more advocacy actions against the sequestration cuts – which, by the way, also greatly affect domestic growth & social programs (see the first reference below). So even if your friends and family don’t care about global health, they will still care about the effects of sequestration. Make sure they know about it. Start that conversation. Act now, and let’s move together towards a better, more knowledgeable, AIDS-free world.

Good references on the effects of sequestration:

International Women’s Day! And other things worth thinking about.

(Flickr/Koshyk)

Hello world! Happy International Women’s Day! There’s a bunch of really cool things going on today, including an International Women’s Day Global Health Symposium at the Chicago Club from 7:30am to 1pm (go! right now!!!), so make sure you don’t miss all the really interesting events happening today! Here’s the official website for more info.

In GlobeMed news, this week we recapped our discussions from last week (see previous postings!) about the WHO and Stop TB Partnership, HIV/AIDS in South Africa, the Anti-Vaccination Movement, and the cholera outbreak in Haiti. We also talked about the research concerning the baby who was cured of HIV/AIDS, and what that means for the future of global health.

THREE THINGS YOU SHOULD DO RIGHT NOW TO GET YOUR WEEKEND OFF TO AN AWESOME START!
1. Support ONE, stand up to fight against extreme poverty.
2. Tell your representative in Congress about how important it is to support Save the Children, to provide children around the world with food, safety, medical care, and education. Basic rights, y’all.
3. Support the US Global Leadership Coalition to oppose further cuts to the International Affairs Budget (we don’t want cuts to humanitarian and development efforts!).

Peace, love, and healthy equity!

Rummage Sale Clothing Donations

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Have a pair of jeans from first-year that you’ve outgrown? Want to get rid of clothes so you can upgrade your wardrobe? We’ve got you covered.

GlobeMed at the University of Chicago is now collecting donations for its annual Spring Rummage Sale! All donations will go to GlobeMed’s partner organization, ASPAT-Peru, a non-profit dedicated to curing drug-resistant TB patients in Peru.

As an added bonus, anyone who donates to our clothing drive will get a 10% discount at our 9th week Rummage Sale next quarter! Bring any clothes (in good condition) to the Reynold’s Club between 12-3pm on Tuesday, March 12th (10th week)!

If you can’t make this time, please email uchicago@globemed.org to set up a drop-off time with one of our members!

Here is our post on marketplace. Spread the word!

Penthouse Picnic and Community Building

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On Saturday, February 23, GlobeMed at UChicago held a potluck picnic on the eight floor penthouse of Logan Arts Center. Check out the night view!

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The evening started off with a potluck dinner with contributions from all members, followed by screenings of short clips including Obama’s inaugural address. 

We, the people, still believe that every citizen deserves a basic measure of security and dignity.  We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit.  But we reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future.  For we remember the lessons of our past, when twilight years were spent in poverty, and parents of a child with a disability had nowhere to turn.  We do not believe that in this country, freedom is reserved for the lucky, or happiness for the few.  We recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, any one of us, at any time, may face a job loss, or a sudden illness, or a home swept away in a terrible storm. The commitments we make to each other – through Medicare, and Medicaid, and Social Security – these things do not sap our initiative; they strengthen us.  They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great.

Members also presented a ghU lesson, followed by a discussion. The picnic ended the night with games, including Twister, Apples to Apples, UNO, Spoons, etc. Often underestimated in goal-oriented organizations similar to ours, community building is key to creating a more effective and successful environment. 

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What we’ve been up to!

It’s been another exciting week at GlobeMed at UChicago!

On Saturday we had a Penthouse Picnic at the Logan Center, and it was super fun having time to bond and hang out with other chapter members.

This week we talked about the World Health Organization’s Stop TB Partnership. The Partnership involves a large meeting of experts from many different TB relief organizations, and we discussed how we felt about the Partnership’s various aims. We also got a really informative ghU lesson about HIV/AIDS in South Africa.

If you’d like to learn more about AIDS in South Africa, this article is really good!

A learning experience.

First, a thought of the day:

The only change that matters is the change that happens after you leave.” Corollary: “The only change that lasts is the change you make with others.

This week we got a crash course in tuberculosis. We all participated in an interactive activity that opened our eyes to how difficult life is for TB patients. We learned about the different types of TB (including multidrug-resistant TB), the amount of medication a TB patient has to take daily (it’s a LOT), and the costs that a family must deal with when they are dealing with TB. A big thanks to our great ghU team for helping us gain a better understanding of how TB can affect people’s lives.

If you’d like to learn more about TB, here are some helpful videos!

The Biology of TB:


Overview of TB and Treatments:

http://www.stoptb.org/assets/videos/hfotb/

Photojournalist James Nachtwey’s TED Talk:
http://www.ted.com/talks/james_nachtwey_fights_xdrtb.html

We’re on the national blog!

Check out this article from the national GlobeMed website on our chapter and partnership with ASPAT! The blog talks about ASPAT’s role in fighting tuberculosis in Peru, and one of our main goals for this year: provide TB patients with business management training and subsequent funds to set up their own microbusinesses. Through teaching entrepreneurship skills, ASPAT and GlobeMed at UChicago seek to provide a more long-term opportunity for TB patients to improve their health and lifestyles.

Also, this Monday February 18 is Community Health Fair at the Reynolds Club! Come participate in workshops by the health-oriented service RSOs on campus.

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Updates!

This week we held our Winterwear and Jewelry Sale! We hope you all got a chance to see the beautiful, one-of-a-kind handcrafted items we sold.

At our weekly meeting we had the privilege of hearing from Dr. Renslow Sherer. He gave a fascinating presentation about the HIV/AIDS epidemic and he also spoke about TB. It was really great to hear from a healthcare professional who has been dealing with epidemics for decades, because his experiences really helped to remind us how important our own work is!

We’re all getting really excited for World Day of Social Justice! On February 20, 2013, we’d like to invite you to challenge yourself by questioning injustice in the world around us. What are some examples of privilege? What qualifies as a human right?
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