Author: Jennifer Philipp

LILLE, France — In 1976, Padma Shree S. Ramakrishnan attended a navy selection board interview as a fourth-year engineering student without the slightest inkling that he would suffer a complete loss of sensation and muscle power below his neck following a fall during a physical test. After 10 months of rehabilitation, he started a school for children with disabilities in Ayikudi, India. He named the school Amar Seva Sangam (ASSA) to honor his orthopedic physician and mentor, Air Marshal Dr. Amarjit Singh Chahal, who motivated him throughout his recovery period. Amar Seva Sangam (ASSA) Ramakrishnan initially opened the school with…

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SEATTLE, Washington — The Mental Health in International Development and Humanitarian Settings (MINDS) Act (H.R.3988/S.2105) seeks to improve the overall integration of mental health services in U.S. foreign service. With a particular focus on vulnerable groups such as women and children, this bipartisan Act would allow for the codification of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Coordinator for Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS). In addition, it would establish an MHPSS working group to further develop substantial U.S. foreign assistance mental health programming. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) introduced the MINDS Act on June 17, 2021. He reflected on…

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KAMPALA, Uganda — By the end of the 1980s, the landlocked Eastern African nation of Uganda was in the midst of an HIV/AIDS pandemic that had ravaged Africa and the rest of the world since the first documented incidences in the mid to late 1970s. In fact, the earliest data that UNAIDS reported in 1990 estimated that over 850,000 Ugandans were living with HIV, with over 110,000 new infections in that same year. Here is some information about HIV in Uganda and The Faithful House, an organization working toward eliminating HIV by strengthening marriages. About HIV HIV, or human immunodeficiency…

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HANOI, Vietnam — With 89.8 million cases and 1.9 million deaths worldwide, COVID-19 has ravaged the world both medically and economically. Although the World Bank categorizes Vietnam as a lower-middle-income country with a population of 96 million people and a 1,450 km shared border with China, the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, Vietnam is successfully dealing with COVID-19. Success by the Numbers Vietnam experienced its first wave of COVID-19 roughly between January and April 2020 and managed to escape with zero deaths and less than 400 infections. Consequently, Vietnam was free of COVID-19 for nearly 100 days until another reported…

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SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — On September 20, 2017, a Category 5 hurricane named Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico. According to a Harvard University study, Hurricane Maria killed 4,600 people even though the official death toll was 64. This natural disaster also destroyed many homes, businesses and communities and left most Puerto Ricans without electricity, food and fresh water from September until June. This article will discuss how a class from Drexel University worked with the organization Plenitud PR to install rainwater collection systems in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. About the Class In December 2019, Steve Dolph, Ph.D., taught…

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NAIROBI, Kenya — In Kenya, education is slowly becoming more and more accessible to Kenyan citizens. In 2003, Kenya’s government created a free primary education program. By 2008, it instituted the same for secondary education. More recently, Kenya published an education sector plan for 2018-2022. It aims to build upon its 2013-2018 strategy as well as improve access to education. Some of these strategies will improve female education in Kenya. Challenges for Female Education Historically, the education of women and young girls has not always been a top priority for many developing countries. Many families are impoverished, but girls are…

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SEATTLE, Washington — Due to unstable political and economic climates, the U.S. federal government sought to provide foreign assistance in Central America to combat the effects of COVID-19. However, statistics are not promising. With all the proposed pandemic assistance, one must wonder: what is not working? Federal aid in Central America has recently been high. However, a shift in focus from immigration to self-sustainability can be the driving force in keeping Central America afloat. The Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center drafted a proposal that can turn aid into foreign investment by financially motivating local businesses and creating more job opportunities.…

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TACOMA, Washington — The COVID-19 pandemic has completely shaken the world. Countries globally have taken measures to flatten the curve but it seems as if some countries have had more success than others. Wisdom and lessons taken from prior epidemics are helping some successfully handle COVID-19. One such country is South Africa. The Spanish flu and the HIV/AIDS epidemic have helped South Africa become better equipped to handle the COVID-19 pandemic. South Africa’s History of Epidemics The first epidemic that struck South Africa in the 20th century was the Spanish flu. Returning South African troops carried the virus from Europe.…

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SEATTLE, Washington — The effects of COVID-19 in Mexico and Argentina have been devastating. Similar to other Latin American countries, their ability to respond has been heavily impacted by financial instability. To ensure the region recovers from the pandemic, AstraZeneca has developed plans for COVID-19 vaccine production in the two countries. COVID-19 in Mexico Mexico saw a large spike in COVID-19 cases in late July, a trend that continued into late November. Although the real COVID-19 fatality rate is about 0.6%, Mexico’s death rate was 13% at the beginning of fall. This difference is often due to insufficient testing resulting…

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HERAT, Afghanistan — A few teenage girls in Afghanistan have taken matters into their own hands in the fight against COVID-19 in their country. The Afghan Dreamers, an entirely female robotics team, has created low-cost ventilators from used car parts for use in hospitals. Learn how these Afghani girls built COVID-19 ventilators to help fight against the virus. COVID-19 in Afghanistan Predictions said the virus would enter the country around March, similar to most of the world. However, there was much unrest in the country due to a large outbreak in the neighboring country of Iran. The situation in Afghanistan…

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