Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Global health and how to fight for it

In Indonesia diseases such as Dung fever, typhus and diarrhea is normal, most people I know in every socioeconomic level has experienced one of these diseases themselves or have had a family member have it. It is the curse of humanity that it learns to tolerate even the most horrible situations by habituation.

Many sanitation related diseases happen in developing countries such as Indonesia, especially in big metropolitan cities like Jakarta that has embraced modernity to the fullest while depending on huge numbers of low wage labors who life in conditions without sanitation facilities. These people then will be the ones most prone to all sorts of diseases while having the least insurance to fall into in case of sickness, making it incredibly difficult for them and their family to get out of poverty. They are trapped in a cycle of evil.

I believe that we must deal with the issue of global health as a system of disease eradication by prevention, where emphasis must be put on building basic infrastructure facilities to ensure that there is no spread of disease. But hard physical infrastructure is not enough.

No system can work without the people who benefit the most out of it understanding its merit. Therefore the key to a well-designed global health program is community education. With education the community can be part of the solution rather than only as the subject of aid. It is important to treat them this way because in turn it will create a sense of dignity and responsibility within the community, making the built infrastructural system more likely to be sustainable.

A well designed global health program must invest equal amount of time for both physical infrastructural improvements and community education. This community empowerment with emphasis on each individual’s personal empowerment is key to building a sustainable structural empowerment. Personal empowerment must consist of building the motivation, self-confidence, self-reliance, self-evaluation and creative ability of the community[1], so that the community can be their own agent of change.

After all, nobody can help anybody unless they themselves want to help themselves. Therefore rather than simply giving aid, changes that involves the community in the decision making would, I believe, be more beneficial to the community. These little tweaks of personal empowerment will then ripple through and ensure lasting changes within the community.

[1] This is an idea taken from Tri Mumpuni, the founder of IBEKA, a non-profit organization dealing with the electrification of rural villages in Indonesia. I have met her through the Global Leadership Program in 2014.

1 comment:

  1. well written, Asih san,
    indeed, "nobody can help anybody unless they themselves want to help themselves", even God wont change the state of anyone unless they are willing to change themselves. I think it's the root of sustainability of any social program (or any program)