Global Health Context: Nursing in Malawi

Check out Christine Gorman’s post at Global Health Report about her cover story/photo essay At Work with Malawi’s Nurses in the American Journal of Nursing.   She did  the reporting as a Global Health Fellow at the Nieman Foundation at Harvard. Christine brings a career’s worth of experience to her stories and thinking on global health and is continually searching for patterns and the big picture reasons why things don’t work rather than parroting the latest findings on a single issue.  Here’s a taste of the way she thinks and works:


Part of what I learned in Malawi is how fragmented and overly narrow most efforts to improving health turn out to be. We think that having more drugs or more nurses and doctors will automatically improve conditions without considering the need for better roads, clean running water or functioning secondary schools to make sure those efforts succeed.

Because it’s easier to raise money for a single issue–like AIDS or polio vaccines or girls’ education, we continue to maintain (and tell stories about) siloed efforts that don’t intentionally contribute to broader, more long-term needs like primary care. There was astudy about that from the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp just yesterday in the Public Library of Science.

I don’t understand why–if it took me only three months to figure this out–the professionals who do this for a living still can’t seem to adjust their efforts accordingly. As the PLOS study suggests, they must already know this. But then, as the saying goes, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”

Read the whole thing here.



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