Posted by: miller1989 | December 2, 2010

Women in an Insecure World

One thing that is very common when discussing immigrant and refugee health is that of gender inequality.  Women in abusive situations are all but too common in under developed countries, this due to the fact that men belief women are a lesser sex than them.  This causes them to treat women how they want or believe they should be treated.

A quote from the book Women in an Insecure World, best describes exactly what the women in under developed countries have to deal with- “It is insufficient to understand sexual violence solely in terms of rape. Sexual Violence also encompasses forced prostitution, sexual slavery, forced impregnation, forced maternity, forced termination of pregnancy, forced sterilization, indecent assault, trafficking, strip searches, and inappropriate medical examinations.”


Why is there violence against women?


Sexual violence is used for many different reasons: a form of torture, to inflict injury, to extract information, to degrade and intimidate, as a form of punishment, to “contaminate” the race, and to destroy the essence of a community.

Targeting women is also a symbolic demonstration of the fact that the men of the group are not able to protect the women, therefore bringing “dishonor” to the entire family or community by virtue of an assault on their women.


This has been an ongoing and devastating issue for many years and will still be if we don’t take time fight this war on sexual violence.  I found a blog created for those who are in war torn countries and who have suffered sexual violence to be able to tell their stories and have them posted on here.  You can read their stories here.


Here is one rape victim (Jackie) story:

The people who put this blog together also have many other contributions they offer in the fight against sexual violence. To learn more about them and how to get involved go here.


Posted by: miller1989 | December 2, 2010

World Refugee Day

I was recently thinking about how every major health related issue has some sort of day or month that they take to raise awareness of the issue or to remember those who are going through those problems and wondered if there was such a thing like that for refugee and immigrant health.  What I found was something that surprised me, they do have a day of refugee and immigrant health, but what was shocking to me was how recent it started.  World refugee day only started in 2001 and it has been celebrated every year on June 20th.  This last year in 2010 UNHCR had made the theme of refugee day to be that of “Home” in recognition of the plight of more than 40 million uprooted people around the world. Around 10 million of them are refugees of special concern to UNHCR.

This is what UNHCR’s goals were and are for refugee day: At UNHCR we help people find new homes and new futures through resettlement, through voluntary repatriation and through local integration. Most of the time, and where it’s possible, refugees prefer to return to their home countries. Nonetheless, and with conflict continuing or escalating in many countries, finding new homes and allowing people to restart their lives is increasingly difficult.

This year, for World Refugee Day, we are planning events around the world to highlight the plight of refugees under our care and to advocate on their behalf for the help they need. We will be asking you to think about what it means to be one of those millions of individual human beings. And we will ask you to contribute in whatever way you can to helping them rebuild their lives.

Help us help them to find a place to call home.

Go here to find ways that you can help.

Posted by: miller1989 | December 1, 2010

International Adoption

One subject that is very close to my heart is that of adoption.  My sister and brother in-law a couple of years ago were able to adopt my nephew.  He has been a blessing in our life and I am grateful for the opportunity of adoption.  Like I said before Children are very affected by the problems of immigration, they are one of the most vulnerable populations.  In 2008 UNICEF estimated that there were over 132 million children who were orphaned, and probably even more today.   With adoption families are able to save a child struggling in their country and provide happiness for the parents wanting to start a family, but with adopting children in other countries comes the risk of certain health problems and certain regulations needed to abide by in order for them to come to America.  The CDC discusses the risks and things to be aware of when adopting from other countries.

CDC and International Adoption:

Each year, parents in the United States adopt more than 12,000 children from all over the world. Adopting a child is a wonderful and exciting event for families. The health of the adopted child is one of many issues that parents need to address during the adoption process. Parents should be prepared for possible challenges during the adoption process and be aware that sometimes the process can be lengthy.

Children born in other areas of the world may have different health problems from those of children raised in the United States. Children may have been exposed to vaccine-preventable diseases that are rare in the United States. Some children are adopted from countries with high rates of diseases, such as tuberculosis, hepatitis, and HIV/AIDS. For all these reasons, knowing as much as possible about a child’s health will help parents get the right treatment and care for their child. Ensuring that adopted children are healthy will also help prevent the spread of disease in families and communities in the United


Some of the CDC’s International adoption goals:

  • To ensure that adopted children receive proper medical screening overseas, so they can receive timely treatment and care
  • To provide information to parents so they can understand their children’s health conditions
  • To communicate with adoption organizations and physicians treating adopted children
  • To encourage safe and healthy travel for parents going overseas to adopt children
  • To respond to disease outbreaks in adopted children
  • To work with countries and partners to streamline the visa medical examination process while maintaining the quality of medical exams

To get more information about CDC and international adoption go here.

Posted by: miller1989 | November 30, 2010


In my class methods of health promotion we have been learning about coalition groups and the importance they hold in trying to change something within the community.  With in coalitions there are many members with different backgrounds that come together to discuss and influence the community on an issue they all believe in.  One group like this is the national network for immigrant and refugee rights. The National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (NNIRR) is a national organization composed of local coalitions and immigrant, refugee, community, religious, civil rights and labor organizations and activists. It serves as a forum to share information and analysis, to educate communities and the general public, and to develop and coordinate plans of action on important immigrant and refugee issues.  NNIRR’s goals for their program are:

  • To strengthen the capacity of immigrant and refugee communities to participate in the immigrant rights movement
  • To integrate and connect immigrant communities and the immigrant rights movement with global social and economic justice movements
  • To strengthen the leadership and vision of the immigrant rights movement within a human rights perspective
  • To increase member participation, internal leadership and organizational capacity of the National Network

One program that they put on, on November 23, was the “take action on international day for the elimination of violence against women” This is just one of the many things that this group has put on to raise awareness of the many problems that occur in refugee and immigrant health.

To learn more about them you can go hear.

To learn how to get involved with this group go hear.

Posted by: miller1989 | November 28, 2010

Invisible Children

Another program that I love and have participated in raising money for personally is the invisible children non-profit organization.  This organization works to help raise money to prevent children to becoming abducted and soldiers of war by the rebel armies in Uganda.  The way they raise money and awareness is to tell the stories of people who are living through the war in Uganda, to inspire others who can, to help this cause.  They have made substantial progress through out the years and are now trying to build schools and provide jobs to build their war torn community.  This is who they are:

In the spring of 2003, three young filmmakers traveled to Africa in search of a story. What started out as a filmmaking adventure transformed into much more when these boys from Southern California discovered a tragedy that disgusted and inspired them, a tragedy where children are both the weapons and the victims.

After returning to the States, they created the documentary “Invisible Children: Rough Cut,” a film that exposes the tragic realities of northern Uganda’s night commuters and child soldiers.

The film was originally shown to friends and family, but has now been seen by millions of people. The overwhelming response has been, “How can I help?” To answer this question, the non-profit Invisible Children, Inc. was created, giving compassionate individuals an effective way to respond to the situation.

We are story tellers. We make documentaries about war-affected children in east Africa and tour them around the world.

We use the power of media to inspire young people to help end the longest running war in Africa. Our model has proven effective, and hundreds of thousands of people have been called to action through our films and the volunteers that tour them.

We are made up of a tireless staff, hundreds of full time volunteers, and thousands of students and supporters. We are young, we are citizens of the world, we are artists, activists, and entrepreneurs. This fall, we are using our voice to ask President Obama to spearhead efforts to bring peace to Northern Uganda. We are mobilizing a generation to capture the attention of the international community, and make a stand for justice in the wake of genocide.

But our work extends far beyond storytelling.

With the support we receive from our tours and young supporters, we are able to implement cutting edge programs on the ground in Uganda. To prioritize and understand the needs of the community, our Uganda staff is 95% Ugandan. We focus on long-term development, working directly with individuals and institutions, to best understand the needs of these war-effected areas. We rebuild schools devastated by war, benefiting over 8,400 Ugandan youth in the areas of water and sanitation, books and equipment, refurbishment of structures, teacher support, and technology and power. We provide 690 scholarships to specifically chosen secondary students and 180 full ride scholarships to University. We employ mentors that holistically oversee healthy development for our students. We have also implemented micro-economic initiatives that are impacting 360 Ugandan’s in transition from internally displaced camps to their original homes as well as 13 formerly abducted child mothers who are now self-sufficient through our tailoring center that provides training in savings, investment, numeracy, literacy and health. These savings-and-loans initiatives have allowed villagers to save money and earn interest for the first time, freeing them to start their own businesses and provide for their families like never before.

We believe that the problems of central Africa need to be tackled comprehensively, from peace to education. Solving them is no easy task, and it will take all of us doing all that we can to ensure it. Join us in the race for peace, click here to find out what you can do to get involved.

This is a video to show what some of their efforts are going toward.

Posted by: miller1989 | November 25, 2010

TOMS: One for One

One of the major issues in refugee and immigrant health is that of child health.  Children in poverty stricken and unstable homes are one of the most vulnerable to situations.  One small thing that can be done to help their health and opportunity is to provide them with shoes.  With providing them with shoes they can be more productive, and in a lot of cases they would able to go to school where they couldn’t before if they didn’t have shoes.  This helps children to have more of a future, and something to look forward too.  The group that does this is the TOMS organization.  I am a big advocate and love what they do for the children in poverty stricken countries.

This is the TOMS story:

One for One

In 2006, American traveler Blake Mycoskie befriended children in Argentina and found they had no shoes to protect their feet. Wanting to help, he created TOMS Shoes, a company that would match every pair of shoes purchased with a pair of new shoes given to a child in need. One for One. Blake returned to Argentina with a group of family, friends and staff later that year with 10,000 pairs of shoes made possible by TOMS customers.

Why Shoes?

Many children in developing countries grow up barefoot. Whether at play, doing chores or going to school, these children are at risk:

•A leading cause of disease in developing countries is soil-transmitted diseases, which can penetrate the skin through bare feet. Wearing shoes can help prevent these diseases, and the long-term physical and cognitive harm they cause.

•Wearing shoes also prevents feet from getting cuts and sores. Not only are these injuries painful, they also are dangerous when wounds become infected.

•Many times children can’t attend school barefoot because shoes are a required part of their uniform. If they don’t have shoes, they don’t go to school. If they don’t receive an education, they don’t have the opportunity to realize their potential.

There are many opportunities within the TOMS community to get involved one way is the “One Day Without Shoes” awareness movement.  Here is the video about what they have done in the pervious year.

Shoe drops are another way volunteers can get involved.  To learn what that is go here

Posted by: miller1989 | November 20, 2010

Haiti: Cholera Crisis

Another group that is helping with international health is that of the International Rescue Committee.  One topic that I’m sure has been circulating is that of the Cholera epidemic that is happening in Haiti.  The IRC has been helping a lot over there, here is a video that just describes a little about the problems they are having there and how the IRC have been helping with them.

The IRC launched programs in Haiti in the immediate aftermath of the January 12 earthquake. Their teams of experts are focusing on:

  • reunifying separate families
  • providing learning and recreational programs for children
  • restoring livelihoods
  • delivering mobile medical services
  • building latrines, washing stations and shower facilities
  • clearing waste
  • promoting health and hygiene
  • protecting women
  • responding to the needs of rape survivors
  • ensuring women have access to critical supplies

The death toll now has reached over 1,000 with over 18,000 people still being treated and they say that the cholera epidemic still hasn’t reached its peak.  They think it will take years to get it under control. Cholera is a water-borne disease that is passed through fecal matter. When the bacteria are ingested, it can quickly cause acute diarrhea, vomiting and dehydration. Cholera is easily treatable through rapid rehydration—the second line of defense in the IRC’s battle against the disease. The IRC is trying to purify their water and stop the spread of disease first that way, but they have also made rehydration kiosks to help those that have been diagnosed.  The only problem they have now is the stigma and belief that they can be healed by their traditional medicine and in the end becoming fatal because of this stigma.

Posted by: miller1989 | November 17, 2010

An Introduction to Refugee and Immigrant Health

I thought what we first needed to establish is what exactly is a refugee and what are the groups of people who are over the welfare of them.  According to the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention, a refugee is defined as someone who “owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country…” Because of theses reasons along with armed conflict and natural disasters that happen around the world, it has caused about 15.2 million people to become refugees, and 27.1 million people internally displaced (someone forced to flee their home, who unlike a refugee remains within their country’s boarders).

In most cases these people have had to leave behind all but a few of their worldly possessions.  They are obliged to travel long distances, often on foot, to seek safe refuge away from the fighting.  With these conditions families are often dispersed and children often loose contact with their parents.  The elderly of the family are also left behind to fend for themselves because they are too week to make the long journey to a safer place.

The roles of relief agencies are many; some of the key factors are water and sanitation, food, shelter, and health care.  Some of these groups are UNHCR or The UN Refugee Agency, UNFPA or the United Nations Population Fund, International organization for Migration, International committee of the red cross, and Medicine Sans Frontiers Doctors Without Boarders. These are just a few organizations that are out there to help refugee and immigrant health.

Posted by: miller1989 | September 27, 2010

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