Changing the world

dhThese notes are about the CMF Developing Health Course 2014.

The focus of today is Community Health. I made notes on the whole course in 2012 – you can read about this day here.

Each day I’m just going to write about things that impacted me, and things I need to read later…

An interesting morning

Ted LankesterTed Lankaster spoke first. Chatting to him at breakfast made me realise that we need to talk to InterHealth about vaccinations, because we leave in about 6 weeks now, and we still haven’t organised ours!

Some cool things he said:

Inverse care law: the availability of good medical care tends to vary inversely with the need for it in the population served. We are seduced by the west, and that leads to a paucity of doctors in the developin world.

One solution is task shifting – ensuring tasks are carried out by the least qualified person able to competently do it: you don’t have your doctor cleaning the bins in the hospital…

He also recommend we read some of the emails sent out by Jeffrey Sachs – who is the head honcho at the UN Sustainable Development agency. I will endeavour to read some, and maybe even blog about it…

Tanzania and change

Next up was a great personal account of living and working in Tanzania, from Irene McClure.

She shared the problems with clean water, where every time it rained the infectious disease goes crazy because of poo in the fields being washed into the water. Stopping the disease is easy with medication, but breaking the cycles of ill health is a whole different story.

Tippy tappies are a simple idea: an empty plastic bottle, hanging by the doorway, to remind people to improve hand hygeine before cooking. It’s an easy placement of reminder and opportunity to change. I wonder what lesson is there for us in something like that?

She recommended we read “Half the sky: how to change the world“, and left us with a final challenge:

Unless a vision is too big to be achieved by man,
its not from God.

If you want to do something and have no power to do it, it is povertyPoverty tutorial

Before lunch, Nick Henwood, led us in a challenging tutorial, about the difficulties of westerners going in and trying to solve everyone’s problems for them, how it feels to be on the “receiving” end of that “aid”.

One of the tutorials involved thinking about myself, looking at areas of myself. Self, spiritual, others, rest of creation. Many of the principles are lifted straight out of a book called “When Helping Hurts“, which I’ve bought Edit: And can HUGELY recommend as a book that anyone passionate about helping the poor in society should read.

For me, the course just, it just confirmed my thoughts about this course: I need to take some time to reflect. I don’t always need to achieve things: I’m using the next two weeks for peace, for reflection, for a deeper emotional learning than simply cramming more medical knowledge into my brain.

One thing Vicky said today was a wonderful mix of Christian and Medical that I love at CMF:

Fortunately prayer has a long halflife

I’m really seeing how the things God has been doing in our lives over the last year (and years) have been layers building up a bigger picture. Presumeably there’s minimal renal excretion of Holy Spirit…

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