BlessWorld Foundation International

Affecting the World Through Health
A Global Health Initiative

Archive for June, 2017

Broadly speaking, aid is any assistance offered to an individual, group, organization or country by another. When aid crosses borders, from one country, organization or multilateral institution, to another, it becomes international aid- assistance offered on an international level, usually to countries in need. In most cases, aid is provided as funds which serve as official developmental assistance (ODA), typically targeted towards poverty reduction, public welfare and economic development. Some international organizations that offer significant aid include United States Agency for International Development (USAID), World Food Programme (WFP), , the World  Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations (UN). In addition to international organizations, countries such as the United States of America and Canada have a reputation for providing international aid.

International aid is a worthy cause that has saved millions of lives over the years. USAID alone, which is  essentially in charge of administering civilian international aid in the United States, saves more than 3 million lives each year through immunization programs. Additionally, over 850,000 people are educated about HIV while up to 40,000 have been trained to protect their countries through USAID. WFP offers unique technical assistance and capacity development to countries by responding to gaps, identified through an extensive assessment, to end hunger, achieve food security and improve nutrition by 2030. WFP assists 80 million people in 80 countries yearly, being the leading humanitarian organization which fights worldwide hunger by delivering food support in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and foster resilience.

WHO, as a public health giant, aims to build a healthier future for people in all nations of the world. Located in over 150 countries, WHO staff work with national governments and several other partners to provide different types of resources and ensure the highest attainable level of health for all people. Millennium development gaols (MDGs) represent WHO’s commitment to making the world a healthier place through international aid. The UN, through the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), aims to achieve international co-operation by solving international problems of economic, social, cultural, and humanitarian nature. The first aid offered by the UN was to help rebuild Europe, after Second World War which left the continent devastated. This shows that international aid, and aid In general, is not only for developing countries but for any country needing support.  The international community now relies on the UN to coordinate humanitarian relief operations caused by natural and man-made disasters, beyond the capacity of national repair.

Despite being a huge part, as clearly seen in the preceding paragraphs, money is not the only component of international aid. Aid is not just a matter of handing out funds and resources to people and countries that need it. It is a statement of oneness and unity in the world, it constitutes a commitment and an effort to sincerely help in restructuring sectors and countries in need of support and assistance.

Family planning is the act or practice of regulating the number of children and the spacing between their births, predominantly by means of artificial contraception or voluntary sterilization. Couples choose to plan their families for several reasons that include health, financial abilities and social responsibilities. it is a necessary and significant human right, essential to both gender equality and women empowerment. Given it’s significance, accessibility to, and choice for  safe, affordable and effective family planning should be a fundamental  right for all women. Unfortunately though, up to about 225 million women worldwide who intend to control, delay or stop bearing children are unable to access safe and effective family planning methods for a myriad of reasons. The major reason being that most of these women live in the poorest nations and parts of the world, where there is abject lack of information, services, access and support for family planning. These nations are also the same countries that lag behind in issues regarding gender equality and women empowerment, major social changes that emphasize the rights of women.

There are many benefits of family planning in addition to the most obvious which is to decrease the escalating and unsustainable world population. Reduced population growth is associated with many positive and healthy consequences such as poverty reduction, preservation of natural resources and all forms of development. Other benefits of family planning include:

  • reduces the need for abortion
  • reinforces people’s rights to choose or not to procreate
  • prevents deaths of mothers and children by preventing unintended pregnancies and births
  • empowers families to birth desired number of children and determine pregnancy spacing
  • secures women’s well-being and autonomy and supports health and development
  • enables people to make informed choices about their sexual and reproductive health
  • prevents transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections

Given these benefits, it is therefore important that family planning is made easily available and accessible to sexually active people, including adolescents, through midwives and other trained health professionals. Midwives are specially trained to provide locally available and culturally appropriate contraceptive methods. Other trained health professionals such as community health workers, may provide counselling and distribute pills and condoms which serve as other family planning methods. Highly advanced or technical family planning methods such as sterilization including vasectomy and tubectomy, require the expertise of clinicians and specialists.

To promote family planning, the World Health Organization (WHO) is working to establish quality, safety and delivery standards and guidelines to help countries introduce, adapt and implement family planning tools and methods to meet their needs. Similarly, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) supports and increases access to family planning by consistently supplying quality contraceptives, advocacy, data collection, networking important stakeholders and offering programmatic, technical and financial assistance to countries that need it.


In general, migration is the movement of humans and animals from one location to another. For humans, it is a process that is completed in two steps, emigration and immigration. Emigration represents the act of leaving one’s resident country with the intent to settle elsewhere while immigration is the movement into a new country for settlement. This continuous process migration happens for many reasons, either by choice or as a result of unfortunate circumstances. People who migrate by choice to settle in other countries  for hope of a better life, are referred to as immigrants in the countries they choose to settle in. On the other hand, individuals who migrate as a result of unfortunate and compelling conditions are called refugees.

Refugees are individuals who fled their countries because of a well-founded fear of persecution, violence, natural disaster, war or death. They flee without any intention to return home due to the situations for which they fled in the first place. As stated in the preceding paragraph, a refugee is different from an immigrant because of the absence of choice in the case of refugees. For this reason global immigration laws differ for immigrants and refugees. For the latter, laws are made from a humanitarian standpoint to protect these individuals, and the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), along with private sponsors are responsible for identifying refugees for resettlement. In Canada, there are two parts of the refugee system: the Refugee and Humanitarian Resettlement Program, for people who need protection outside Canada and the In-Canada Asylum Program for people making refugee protection claims within Canada.

The health status of refugees remain a significant component of their migration process. Given the reasons for which the emigrate their home countries, it is inevitable to experience trauma and other health conditions. The world health organization recognizes some of the most frequent health problems of newly arrived refugees including accidental injuries, hypothermia, burns, gastrointestinal illnesses, cardiovascular events, diabetes and hypertension. In addition, females are more likely to experience violence as well as specific health challenges that involve pregnancy and delivery-related complications, maternal, newborn and reproductive health challenges. Medical conditions such as psycho-social disorders, drug abuse, nutrition disorders, alcoholism and exposure to violence are some of the risks associated with population movements and they increase vulnerability to noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). Refugee children require access to suitable health care because they are most vulnerable and prone to respiratory infections and gastrointestinal illnesses due to poor living conditions and hygiene. These poor conditions also lead to skin infections.

Furthermore, the risk of death for refugee immigrants are  high because of the methods by which they flee their home countries. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the number of casualties and deaths among refugees  crossing the Mediterranean Sea increased, with over 3100 people estimated to have either gone missing or died at sea in 2015. Having been through so much trauma in the course of fleeing, host countries ought to be receptive and compassionate through friendly policies and actions in order to nullify impact of the negative experiences of refugees. There is need to compassionately and carefully monitor the health status of refugees in host communities as well as foster developments that will improve the quality of their lives.

Safety is defined as the state of being free from or immune to danger or injury. Therefore, water safety simply means the condition of being safe and protected from dangers and injuries that may result from using water.

The concept of water safety is very important given that approximately 71% of the Earth’s surface is covered by water. More so, water is all around us; in rivers and lakes, in icecaps, aquifers and glaciers, in the ground as soil moisture and in air as water vapor. In fact, the earth is a ‘watery’ place. In addition to its ubiquitous nature in the universe, man’s need for water cannot be paralleled; an estimated 408 billion gallons of water are used in the United States per. Water is so important because we constantly need and use it on a daily basis and for many reasons including drinking, cooking, bathing, washing, swimming and for other activities. For this reason, it’s really necessary to ensure that the water we use is clean and safe. That way, we are protected.

Many times, water is contaminated by different chemicals or micro-organisms through some natural means, man-made activities and poor hygiene. These contaminants must be removed through some treatment or purification process to make water clean and safe. Additionally, diseases that result from contaminated water and their associated health impacts are numerous and threatening. Every year, up to 3.6 million people die from a disease related to using unsafe, unclean and unhealthy water. Approximately 80% of diseases in many third-world countries are associated with water, causing millions of deaths; for example, diarrhoea alone kills 5,000 children daily- about one child every 17 seconds. Classes of diseases associated with water are usually preventable including water-borne, water-washed and water-related diseases. Hence, if water is clean safe and healthy, all associated diseases will be eliminated from the world and many deaths will be prevented.

A study on the “Molecular assessment of bacterial pathogens- a contribution to drinking water safety” showed that current developments in molecular detection technologies for bacterial pathogens in drinking water can potentially improve the safety of drinking water supplies by specifically detecting and identifying pathogens. Furthermore, many purification, treatment and molecular approaches have improved the understanding of infection routes for water-borne diseases, effects of changes in drinking water treatment, and management of freshwater resources. These and many more advancements are on track to ensure water safety is prioritized and realized.