Reflection 3 final

Reflection 3 final - Banafsheh Sharif-Askary Pubpol 155...

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Banafsheh Sharif-Askary Pubpol 155 October 18, 2010 Reflection #3: Penicillin’s Effect on Global Health Ethics The discovery of penicillin in 1928 is arguably one of the most notable events in the history of global health. Penicillin has not only had great affects on worldwide health, but has also affected the ethical dynamics that drive it. I believe that penicillin is such an important contribution to the global health community because of the diverse benefits it provides especially to impoverished countries. Nonetheless, for all the good that penicillin has provided to our world, there are also negative effects that have brought into question the problems with westernizing medicine to such an international extent. This summer I spent my time running antenatal health care clinics for pregnant women in the southwest region of Uganda. My exposure to health care in such a different environment put the value of basic medical commodities such as penicillin into perspective. It was through this experience that I was able to come to terms with how the discovery of penicillin shaped global health ethics. Penicillin was discovered by Sir Alexander Fleming in 1928 in Scotland. When the mold of Penicillium Notatum killed a derivative of Staphylococcus bacterium, Fleming realized that there was an antimicrobial agent at play but at the time the implications of his work were not understood. It was not until the 1940s that penicillin became the most widespread and readily available antibiotic. This debut of antibiotic agents allowed physicians to battle bacteria induced sicknesses inside the human body and created a new dimension of medical care that also required more extensive ethics analysis. Part of the allure of penicillin and other similar antibiotics is their low cost and widespread availability. In a sense, the penicillin bolstered the utilitarian view of global health ethics wherein there were no longer socioeconomic divides in health care. Especially in low income countries, it is only the wealthy that are able to afford the luxury of medicine and health care. The discovery and subsequent use of penicillin helped dispel the view that healthcare was a luxury and made it
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This note was uploaded on 11/26/2010 for the course ETHICS INTRO taught by Professor Euben during the Spring '08 term at Duke.

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Reflection 3 final - Banafsheh Sharif-Askary Pubpol 155...

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