Medicine & Society Final

Medicine & Society Final - ANSO 110 Multiple Axis In...

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ANSO 110 Multiple Axis In medicine today, there is so much emphasis placed on the molecular basis of disease. One cannot address the histories of diseases, or even the ideal of curing diseases, without first recognizing the issues of racism, gender inequality, class difference, and poverty that shapes individuals and their respective populations. Everyday, millions of people that live in Third World countries are subjected to the structural violence the government imposes on them. Paul Farmer, in his book Pathologies of Power , describes this structural violence as “a host of offensives against human dignity: extreme and relative poverty, social inequalities ranging from racism to gender inequality, and the more spectacular forms of violence that are uncontestedly human rights abuses.” i Though everyone in the world, regardless of race, gender, or class, should be guaranteed their human rights, the present economic and social structures of the poor in Third World countries foist inequity and exploitation under the disguise of law. A prime example of structural violence is Haiti. In the early 90’s, international health and populations experts formulated a “human suffering index”. Out of one hundred and forty one countries, twenty-seven were described by “extreme human suffering”. Out of these twenty-seven countries, Haiti was ranked fourth. The level of poverty and human suffering Haitians live in is so unimaginable, that the reason that three countries were ranked above them was because these countries were in the act of internationally recognized civil war. ii Haiti is a country long known for being plagued not only by political disturbance, but also by AIDS and Tuberculosis. Outside of Africa, Haiti faces the worst AIDS
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epidemic in the world. Among a population of 7.5 million people, an estimated 250,000 Haitian citizens have AIDS/HIV. iii
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This essay was uploaded on 04/20/2008 for the course ANSO 110 taught by Professor Torres during the Spring '07 term at Kalamazoo.

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Medicine & Society Final - ANSO 110 Multiple Axis In...

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