Friday, July 11, 2014

Technology: A Crucial Tool

According to Screening for Mental Health, mental disorders are a leading cause of disability in the world. Some mental disorders include: depression, bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, eating disorders and suicide. Although anyone can get this illness, refugees are especially more vulnerable to these disorders due to their sufferings of torture and violent conflict. In today’s society, refugees’ rights of healthcare and protection from torture are far from being promised. However, due to the dedication of the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), the refugees are starting to notice the realization of at least one of their rights—the right to healthcare
When I first looked at the article, all I noticed was the refugees’ right to healthcare being enacted. However, upon reading it a several times, I realized that this article portrays both the violation and implication of the Universal Declaration of Human rights. Article 5 of the document states that “no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” The way in which the refugees are treated violates both portions of this right. However, what stood out more to me was rather the implication of the article 25 which states that “everyone has the right to a standard living adequate for the health and well-being of himself. “
Greg Vinson, the Senior Researcher and Evaluation Manager states that the mental sufferings of the refugees are “heartbreaking since we have effective treatments for these issues.” I agree. Unlike Americans who have easy access to treatments, the refugees probably can’t even imagine getting close to medical care. However, they are more susceptible to medical disorders due to their sufferings, and therefore require more attention. I respect the Minnesota Department of Health for their decision to offer a mental health screening to all the newly arrived refugees.
Technology makes this screening more accessible to the refugees. Honestly, refugees wouldn’t be able to reach out for help even if they knew they had an illness. The mental screening is conducted through an online survey, which can be easily accessed. The refugees are to answer five questions given to them during the initial health screening exam. If it wasn’t for technology, the refugees would not be able to escape their suffering, which would lead to a more serious illness and perhaps death. Therefore, I believe that the Minnesota Department of Health does an excellent job in integrating technology into protecting the refugees’ rights to healthcare.
Although this organization doesn’t directly cure the refugee’s possible illnesses, it takes a step closer to perfectly protecting the refugees’ rights to healthcare. And especially in today’s society, technology is a crucial tool in enacting these rights.


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