The 2020 GlobeMed Annual Benefit Dinner not only raised over $300 to support health initiatives by the Kachin Women’s Association of Thailand (KWAT), but also educated students on the mission of KWAT and global childhood hunger and mortality. KWAT is dedicated to the empowerment and advancement of the Kachin minority in order to improve the lives of women and children in Kachin society.
This year, Professor John Butterly gave an engaging presentation on childhood hunger and mortality. His presentation not only delved into the specific data of childhood hunger and mortality, but also discussed the principles of fundamental human rights as outlined by the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Participants learned that there are different types of malnutrition – marasmus is defined by a caloric deficit and kwashiorkor is a lack of essential amino acids found in protein – and that addressing which type of malnutrition children in a community face is essential to solving the root of the problem. Additionally, the right to food is enshrined within the right to an adequate standard of living in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. So, it is our duty to address and solve the lack of food security that millions of children face. In just the United States alone, 16 million children live in a household that lack the means to procure enough nutritious food on a regular basis. Furthermore, Professor Butterly discussed the leading causes of childhood mortality globally – pneumonia, diarrhea, and malaria. An important message that students took away from these leading causes of mortality is that often times, donors and NGO’s focus on infectious diseases that are more “glamorous”, but do not contribute to the leading causes of childhood death. Thus, as future global health scholars, it is important to pay attention to implementing systems and structures that alleviate communities of diseases that have persistently burdened children and their communities.
Participants also enjoyed a trivia game created by GlobeMed members. The trivia questions touched upon KWAT’s mission, global health, and social justice. Participants learned that the strategic aims of KWAT are: a) to promote women’s rights, children’s rights, and gender equality, b) to oppose all forms of violence against women including human trafficking, and c) to provide health education and health services to internally displaced persons. Following along with the theme of Professor Butterly’s discussion, participants also learned that one in every nine people worldwide are undernourished. Furthermore, in low-income countries, pneumonia is the primary cause of death. Lastly, the key environmental factors that impact the global burden of disease are unsafe water, hygiene, waste disposal, urban air pollution, and indoor smoke from household use of solid fuels. Trivia was an interactive way in which to tie together the various aspects of global health and challenge participants to juggle with these factors when thinking of creative solutions to current problems.
-Submitted by Lane Carbaugh '22, Rockefeller Center Mini Grant Recipient
The Rockefeller Center's Mini-Grants program funds registration fees for students attending conferences, as well as the costs of bringing guest speakers to Dartmouth. The views and opinions expressed here are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of the Rockefeller Center or constitute an endorsement by the Center.