Reparations Require Identifying Slavery’s Victims First

Georgetown University recently acknowledged its historical role in slavery, offering preferential admissions status to descendants of 272 slaves it sold in 1838. Along with other measures, Georgetown updated its admissions policy to give the same advantage to the slaves’ descendants as it grants alumni, faculty and other “members of the Georgetown community.” While it is one of many U.S. institutions that was built and funded — at least in part — on the kidnapping, forced labor and sale of Black men and women, according to Richard Cellini, the Georgetown alumnus who spearheaded an independent search for the descendants, the school is one of the first to explore reconciliation beyond nominal changes and lip service.

The move highlights a critical need in bids to address reparations: As America grapples with whether and how to pay, this approach overlooks the fraught but essential process of identifying the unnamed victims and piecing together the family histories of millions of Black Americans living with and, in some cases, still suffering from the legacy of the country’s early sin.

Full article on Ozy 

On World Anesthesia Day, It’s Time to Wake Up to a Critical Medical Breakthrough

Looking back on a long and storied history of medical breakthroughs, we’re inclined to remember the discoveries that take the form of lifesaving solutions: penicillin, the polio vaccine, radiotherapy, antiretroviral drugs. Our minds turn almost naturally to the game-changing inventions designed to cure or prevent disease; rarely do they conjure up those that sow the seeds of a whole new playing field.

Such is the story of modern anesthesia, first administered in Boston on this day in 1846. If surgery was the game-changing solution to save or improve lives, anesthesia was the discovery that allowed the game (as we know it) to be played in the first place. And it’s only fitting that we rarely remember its role.

Full article on Huffington Post

(French) Redéfinir « l’innovation » dans la technologie médicale en Afrique

L’innovation – le mot à la mode peut-être le plus utilisé dans le monde du développement international – se présente de plusieurs façons mais, dans la plupart des cas, il fait référence à une variante d’une nouvelle technologie. Il peut s’agir d’une lanterne alimentée par la puissance solaire, d’un dispositif portable de filtration d’eau ou d’un test de diagnostic en temps réel. Il est cependant rare que l’innovation se concentre sur des systèmes nécessaires à la durabilité et à l’efficacité de ces technologies. Autrement dit, l’innovation porte trop souvent sur le produit et non sur le process

Pour les futurs entrepreneurs sociaux étudiant des sujets tels que la science, la technologie, l’ingénierie et les mathématiques, il est tentant de se concentrer sur l’innovation au sens traditionnel et orienté sur le produit, particulièrement en Afrique. Après tout, dans un continent confronté à des défis sociaux, économiques et environnementaux, des technologies innombrables pourraient avoir un impact immédiat et de grande portée. Par conséquent, pourquoi ne pas mettre ses talents à l’œuvre pour concevoir et développer de nouveaux produits ?

« Parce qu’il est moins important d’avoir une nouvelle technologie qu’une technologie qui fonctionne », affirme Francis Kossi, un entrepreneur social et ingénieur biomédical togolais, qui s’est lancé dans la redéfinition du terme « innovation » en Afrique de l’Ouest. « Ce dont nous avons besoin, ce sont des systèmes de distribution et de réparation des produits dont nous disposons ».

Full article on Terangaweb 

The lingering stain after the flags come down

If you walk around campus at Washington and Lee University, my alma mater, you’ll see everything you’d expect from an elite liberal arts college in rural America: idyllic red brick buildings juxtaposed against a perfectly manicured green lawn, a mostly white student body exchanging laughs as they happily mingle on school grounds, a mix of old and nascent intellectuals debating the merits of “cultural relativity” in an interventionalist world. That is, until you stumble into Lee Chapel, the eponymous lecture hall, once a burial site, that honors the great Southern general and former school president, to find its walls bearing those pale stains that signal the fresh absence of a long-hanging piece of wall art.

Though not literal, these stains represent the Confederate battle flags removed two years ago this week by the university after decades lining its most cherished building. Installed four score and six years ago (just one year off from the ultimate irony), the flags proudly flew until the university’s president, Kenneth Ruscio, ordered them to be taken down despite widespread resistance from alumni, students and other groups. This bold move preempted the wave of Confederate flag controversy that has since confronted hundreds of Southern institutions, many of which share Washington and Lee’s nominal affiliation with Robert E. Lee.

But whether or not the flags are waving, Washington and Lee remains unwavering in its commitment to its latter namesake.

Full article on Washington Post

NBA Legend Dikembe Mutombo Rejects the Status Quo of Surgical Care in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Last week, Mashable published a video from an organization called Cordaid that follows a pregnant woman on her way to a maternity clinic in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The video is set in real time, so viewers have the rare opportunity to witness this journey in its entirety. Spoiler alert: it’s five hours long.

The woman, Chanceline, lives 17 miles from the nearest source of healthcare, and because there’s no transportation available to her, she has to make the trek on foot. While pregnant. Across rough terrain. Through a rainstorm. Alone.

Heartbreaking as it may be, Chanceline’s story is commonplace in the DRC. Despite being Africa’s second-largest country by land area and fourth-largest by population, the DRC ranks among the worst when it comes to health and wellbeing.

Full article on Huffington Post

Elevating the Role of Biomeds in Global Surgery

When John Willy—a biomedical equipment technician (BMET) in Uganda—woke up one morning last September, he probably didn’t expect to be a gatekeeper for lifesaving surgery. But after receiving an emergency call to repair an anesthesia machine at a nearby hospital, that’s what he became.

Willy was summoned by the hospital to fix a broken knob that controls the machine’s oxygen concentrator, without which the hospital’s anesthetist wouldn’t be able to manage the flow of oxygen into the patient. (In Uganda, it’s common for hospitals to lack access to cylinder oxygen.) While Willy hadn’t seen this issue before, his training (paired with some ingenuity) allowed him to facilitate the repair and ready the machine for the surgery—now able to be performed because he responded with timely, expert service.

In the world of surgery and anesthesia, BMETs like Willy are crucial pieces to a complex, systemic puzzle—a puzzle that becomes even more complex in low-resource settings like Uganda, where medical equipment challenges are far more rampant, the surgical needs far greater, and the availability of trained BMETs far less common.

Full article on 24×7 Magazine 

Curbing Road Traffic Deaths in Developing Countries with Emergency Care

This Sunday is one of those international awareness days you don’t hear much about. Football teams won’t wear a particular color, Google won’t change its logo and newspapers probably won’t devote their front page to the cause. But its importance and relevance are nonetheless profound.

Sunday is the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims. For most of us, this topic needs no introduction: we’ve all likely had a brush with a traffic accident at some point in our lives; and worse, we all likely know someone who’s been seriously injured, if not killed, in an accident. The impact of these severe injuries and deaths can reverberate across families and communities – their pain immediate yet long-lasting, their shock hard-to-imagine yet overwhelmingly real.

Full article on Huffington Post