Pediatrics and Saving Lives
By Sowmiya T on June 20, 2023
Medicine is a fascinating field with many connections to other interesting topics. In this article, I am going to emphasize the links between pediatrics and humanitarian/international issues. By studying child development and promoting healthy lifestyles, pediatrics plays a crucial role in addressing global concerns. Pediatrics is a relatively modern specialty that plays a significant role in ensuring a child’s ability to grow, play, and learn, among other things. This is important for them to become independent, mature adults who can create a healthy and secure life for themselves and their family. As such, pediatrics is integral to closing inequality gaps and allowing all children, regardless of their background, to reach their full potential. This article will focus on two real-life examples of how it accomplishes this and what improvements need to be made.
Organizations such as Children’s Lifeline International carry out medical missions in many countries to increase access to healthcare for children in vulnerable settings. Initially, the focus was on pediatric cardiac procedures, but now the group of medical professionals also treats patients for illnesses that require cranio-maxillofacial, neonatal, or reconstructive surgery. Their efforts are commendable not only because they identify developing areas where urgent medical intervention is needed to save children, but also because they teach the staff at the host hospitals where they operate about their methods of operation and patient care. This ensures sustainability and improved equality because future cases will receive better attention with desirable outcomes. Furthermore, the humanitarian intentions of these trips provide resources to countries that may not have been able to afford otherwise. Pediatrics is more than just performing operations to save children with rare diseases. It is about connecting healthcare systems with an objective of sharing best practices and eliminating the root causes of existing problems that require international aid. Pediatrics also involves allowing children to live the best possible life despite the complexity of the illnesses they may be diagnosed with, especially when patients have access to more targeted procedures that take into account their genetics and background.
Another institution we can examine is the International Pediatric Association (IPA), which advocates for every child’s right to be as healthy as possible so they can become well-developed adults. With worldwide reach, IPA coordinates advocacy, education, and action to improve children’s physical, mental, and social health worldwide, with the support of top-quality systems and professionals. They have a large leadership and operational group with members from different countries around the world - which is significant as any international body requires a variety of perspectives to to create inclusive policies and plans. They also work with member societies in each participating country to reach out to all possible practicing pediatricians in their mission. IPA’s impressive work includes collaborating with UNICEF and WHO during the height of the pandemic by conducting webinars to continuously alert and urge action globally towards supporting treatment of children and pregnant women, with many important topics under discussion. Some of these include:
- Violations of maternity care patients rights
- Making schools safe
- Understanding how COVID affects children differently
From this, we understand that pediatrics is not just about helping a child maintain lung health after catching a respiratory disease, or ensuring safe childbirth without endangering the mother or child. Pediatrics also ensures that young girls in disadvantaged countries can continue their education and escape potential child marriages. It is the key to ensuring that pregnancies proceed without future consequences such as chronic diseases. Pediatrics and its professional voice can educate the public about medical technologies, enabling society and the economy to keep functioning.
Pediatrics is a means of empowering children by meeting their needs, often extending beyond hospital borders. It allows for future generations to live mobile and equitable lives, interact confidently with others, and manage stressors that impact their minds in healthy ways. How can this field be improved? As many healthcare institutions and global development bodies have noted, it is critical for many sectors, not just medicine, to align their progress with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. These targets were developed with the specific intention of creating an optimistic future for all while also allowing industries to flourish. Work must be done to ensure that every healthcare system progresses effectively, while making good use of the available resources. Inter-country collaboration is more important than ever before as the COVID-19 pandemic has shown that the future world will require coordinated efforts if we are avoid significant, and most importantly, preventable losses. Students interested in medicine and related disciplines must also understand the importance of children’s health considering this patient group is our future.
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Thank you Sharon V for editing this article!