News Global Health Center

2020: Artful global health reflections

For many, this year was like no other in recent memory: politics, COVID-19, natural disasters like wildfires and hurricanes, mental health, racism, etc.

What is your personal perception of how 2020 has affected Global Health?

The Global Health Center compiled this capsule of reflections and artwork from Global Health practitioners, students and faculty.

Grain bags in Nigeria.
Title: Hunger and COVID-19

Global hunger has become the second biggest product of the pandemic. In Nigeria, the lock down has further crippled a country already challenged with food insecurity, lack of clean water, and unstable electrical services. The daily lives of the people have been adversely affected. We have raised money to help with a food bank in Nigeria. In 2019, we provided a medical team with new stethoscopes, blood pressure cuffs and infrared thermometers that have assisted them to screen for systems of COVID-19 in the communities where we provided services. Non-communicable diseases are our main research focus, which are currently being neglected.

Contributor: Tamara D. Otey, PhD, RN, Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes-Jewish College, St. Louis, Missouri

Title: A Daughter’s Perception of the Coronavirus

I asked my daughter to draw how coronavirus impacted her. “I hope everyone doesn’t get coronavirus, Dad,” said Kaidi. Her joy has energized me through these challenging times. I collaborate with a cancer center in Guatemala. Unable to travel, the pandemic has shifted our current efforts towards education, which we can do virtually. We have seen the detrimental emotional and physical impact of COVID globally, and friends both local and abroad have tragically lost loved ones.

Contributor: Kaidi, age 7, daughter of Hiram Gay, MD, Radiation Oncology, School of Medicine, Washington University in St. Louis

Title:  Think of Others

I took this photo on February 8, 2020, at the Missouri Botanical Garden Orchid Show. In an abundance of caution as conditions related to the COVID-19 coronavirus continued to evolve, the 2020 Orchid Show closed March 15. At the time, the room was crowded beyond capacity as we all delighted in each new sighting of an orchid. I was drawn to this particular living sculpture because it represented beauty and goodness in the world. Today, it represents a hope that will not fade; that one day we will be healthy and always think of others.

Contributor: Jeanie Bryant, coordinator of the Global Health Center, Institute for Public Health, Washington University in St. Louis

Title: End White Silence

I think the Black Lives Matter movement has been a huge part of this year. Due to the amount of time people had to spend in their homes, information on the movement could be spread rather quickly. I took this photo at the Ferguson Police Department protest (one of the first of many protests in the STL area.) At one point protesting was happening all around the world in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and I think was a very important thing that needed to happen in order to get global attention on the issue of racism.

Contributor: Taylor Marrie, photography student, @taylormarriephotography

Title: Effect of 19 on 20

The year 2020 elevated global health to the forefront of people’s minds. As a quilter, I attempted to express how coronavirus has both disrupted and connected the world. I pieced an abstract viral capsid based on the iconic 3D structure of SARS-CoV-2. Curved gray piecing around the virus represent an infected cell. The background is a square patchwork that represents the structure of a society pre-COVID. Scrap piecework repurposes a discarded remnant into something new. It is my hope that society can take the fragments leftover from 2020 and build a stronger, more just, society.

Contributor: Marla Hertz, PhD, Infectious Diseases Division, Department of Medicine, Washington University in St. Louis

Guatemalan patients are screened before entering the LIGA-INCAN clinic.
Title: Keeping Hope Alive

At Liga Nacional Contra El Cáncer e Incan (LIGA-INCAN) in Guatemala, patients struggled with cancer and the challenges of COVID-19; however, they kept hope and faith despite a ban on  transportation by the government. Patients were able to travel by other means and decided to do anything they could to travel to receive therapy utilizing the Washington University in St. Louis and USAID donated state-of-the-art Varian Halcyon Radiotherapy System. The patients mentioned that the facility was always open to receive any patients seeking cancer care. The year 2020 was an opportunity to close gaps in cancer care capability. This photo shows the mandatory screening for COVID-19 that was established for all patients and staff. Dr. Vicky De Falla, president of LIGA-INCAN, coordinated all the acquisitions of protective equipment with the help of Dr. Carlos Garcia (medical director) and Dr. Javier Figueroa (medical deputy director).

Contributor:  Dr. Angel Velarde, MSCE, University of Pennsylvania & Center for Global Health; Research Director at LIGA-INCAN