Friday, April 02, 2010

People - The Best Cure to The World's Ills

You live in Mississippi, one of the most impoverished areas of the country. It also has some of the worst health statistics. What do you do? Turn to government?

No. You turn elsewhere; somewhere that has experienced the same problem and ask for help. In this case it's Iran. Yes. Iran. Facing a shortage of doctors after the Iran/Iraq war they experimented with a series of "health houses" to serve within their communities. Rather than having the ill travel to a hospital, locals were trained to go out among the people to give advice about healthy practices as well as monitoring conditions such as blood pressure and diabetes.

It took one man visiting the area to consult with a financially strapped rural hospital. Remembering a conference in Europe where Iranian doctors explained how they revolutionized their system, he joined forces with another mover and shaker to study what had been done to achieve near miraculous results.

The Americans were, to their surprise, welcomed with open arms when they travelled to Iran to learn more. The Iranians were equally surprised to be asked for advice rather than being told what to do! Especially from Americans!

Iranian experts then came to Mississippi to help get the project up and running. The first "health house" to facilitate training will be in an abandoned car showroom leasing for $1 per month. Fifteen more communities are interested in pursuing the concept and Harvard's School of Public Health will monitor the project.

All this is being done by people in the field who know the field and all the needs that are part of it. This is being done by interacting with others who are ahead of their position on the curve, not by a bunch of politicians who know little if anything about the problems needing to be addressed.

Iranians and Americans who care about the well being of their people over and above personal agendas. I'm sure there are more projects like this going on around the world. It is refreshing and encouraging to hear about them. So much can be learned, so many can be helped.

Too bad our politicians have placed themselves so far above the people they have no idea what we can do together down here on our level. Government of the people, by the people and for the people seems to exclude the people these days. The people are doing it all by themselves.

No comments: