Malaria kills close to a million people yearly. It is most prevalent in countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia (Breman , 2004). The Plasmodium parasites in mosquitoes that cause malaria can be transmitted to humans by mosquito vectors of the genus Anopheles. A female mosquito bite transfers the parasite from an infected Anopheles mosquito to the human body and the Plasmodium sporozoites eventually make their way to the liver (Sinnis, 2007). The life cycle of sporozoites both in the mosquito as well as the host cell is important to consider because each step determines infection (Mota, 2001). Sporozoites are made and released in the mosquito midgut; they bind to the salivary glands and inhabit their secretory cells. Once they enter the mammalian host cell, they travel to the liver and traverse multiple cells until successfully invading hepatocytes (Coppi, 2007). Without successful invasion of hepatocytes, the infection is not viable.
In September of 2010, President Obama signed a Presidential Policy Directive on Global Development. The directive was designed to define a U.S. commitment to diplomacy and international relations. The establishment of the directive was followed by a response from the Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The organizations identified global health as one of the six imperative areas to be tackled in addressing foreign relations during the current administration. These programs collectively created the platform for the Global Health Initiative (GHI). The GHI is a 5.7 billion dollar foreign aid program; a six year commitment to improving health care in 73 different countries. The initiative places a special emphasis on HIV/AIDS; TB; malaria; maternal, newborn, and child health; family planning and reproductive health; and nutrition.
The thought, planning, and the actual accounts of my recent medical mission trip to Haiti offered a remarkable experience. I selected key points during this whole humbling process in order to give you a glimpse of our trip to Haiti.
Andrew Hillman is an ambitious and passionate MAPS members from Region IX. He currently serves as president of the MAPS Chapter at Queen’s College. This summer he was afforded the opportunity to journey to Thailand and amassed a new perspective on the world and his position within it. As an aspiring physician of color, Andrew recognizes the need for cultural competency and his trip to Thailand allowed him to work towards addressing that need.