Fathers, by being a representation of a population on the Earth, are necessary to improving global health. My simple argument is as follows, every person in the world is required to improve global health. Individual action is required to improve the overall status of health in the world and therefore, the individual action of fathers specifically is vital to improving global health.
While fathers may be important to improving global health, they are NOT vital. The word vital implies global health is unable to continue to “live” without fathers as it pertains to this statement. Global health will continue in all other avenues such as, technology, funding, and volunteering with or without the acceptance or approval from the men, or fathers, of the world.
Fathers are absolutely vital to improving global health!
Today is my daddio’s birthday and I am inspired to write how important my father is in my life. He has been a strong role model teaching me to stay active and I am certain I wouldn’t be the same physiological person without him. My good fortune originates with having both a mom and a dad to help provide and support me. While we have had some tougher times, I have never gone without food in my belly and a roof over my head. With amenities fulfilled in the bottom rung of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, I have been able to achieve higher health capacity in areas of self-esteem and self-actualization.
Another simple psychological theory expresses the importance of a father figure to developing a daughter’s self esteem. I have experienced many women here in Nicaragua without a healthy father figure who have indeed built low self esteem. Street harassment, or catcalling, is a predominant interaction between men and women here in Nicaragua. I was informed during training, some of the national women require this type of interaction in order to feel good about themselves. This blog does a great job explaining how women respond to this type of behavior in Central America. I do not intend to classify one as better than the other, it’s simply an observation and analysis of the culture.
Latin America cultures often have a “machismo” element. The culture accepts forms of violence from men, whether in the street or intrafamiliar: within the family. As a Peace Corps volunteer focused on women’s health, machismo is the reason I recognize the importance of men in global health issues. For many health issues around the globe, men happen to have more power and more voice. Unfortunately, a gap in focus leaves gigantic health issues, such as; maternal mortality rates or child nutrition (some of my Peace Corps project focuses!) unchanged.
My most passionate global health issue is violence against women. It won’t be the first time you hear me say there are no women’s issues, because they are world issues. The reason is because men MUST be involved. Another wonderful Peace Corps volunteer learned from a group of Nicaraguan men, sometimes, they don’t actually know the reasons behind their abuse, their only argument being an appeal to tradition fallacy.
BUT, as it turns out “in many societies, men generally enjoy more opportunities, privileges and power than women, yet these multiple advantages do not translate into better health outcomes” (WHO’s “The Health Gap”). Referring back to my previous post, we must all take care of our own health to the best of our ability! If the men in this world are having trouble taking care of their own health, how can we expect them to use their power and privilege to focus on global health?
For this reason, we should focus on the importance of education for the family. Education is an enormously triumphant tool. If lessons were taught to the family together, the information could be shared and the dynamic within the family could hold members accountable.
To wrap up, Dad, you have been so important in my life. Not just for me, but now for all the people I intend to help in my lifetime. You, daddio, have given me the opportunity to show others the impact fathers can play in global health. Thank you and HAPPY BIRTHDAY! YAY!
How has your dad impacted your health? Can your personal impact translate to the world?