By Liana Papirian
11:28 AM PST, January 24, 2013
Despite the global village and medical advancements, there remain areas of the world where the inhabitants carry on in the hunter-gatherer lifestyle.
Jared Diamond, an established American scientist, details the lifestyle and lack of medical knowledge of the Pirahã people. The Pirahã people represent the dangers associated with a society lacking in basic medical knowledge and amenities.
Americans remain largely ignorant to less-fortunate people around the world. We are not fully aware of critical crises around the world, due to our fast-paced lives. I would like to believe that it is not the fact that we do not care about the people living in poor conditions, but that their importance is not emphasized enough. The U.S. government has the capability to improve the quality of tribes all over the world by intervening and providing medical and technological services.
The Pirahã tribe is by no means the only tribe, which remains in an un-advanced state today. The Masai, Mursi, and the Himba are just a few more tribes known today, which continue to live unfamiliar to modern medicine. The people living in tribes are primitive in that they are nonindustrial cultures.
One may ponder what would allow a group of people to stand around and watch a woman trying to give birth, crying for help and not doing anything. These people are not aware of our cultural norms, and do not know there are safer, more advanced ways to give birth. Their education only consists of how to hunt, survive and engage in spiritual practices.
This is not the fault of the tribal people, but that of the more advanced countries for not lending a helping hand. First world countries have the resources to help improve the welfare of indigenous groups of people. Most tribes like the way they are leading their lives, but it is up to our government to make sure these people are assisted medically and technologically if need be.
A pregnant woman in the United States has the luxury of getting prenatal care to make sure that the baby is developing just fine. When it comes time to deliver, it takes place in a hospital setting with more than one health professional by her side to ensure the safety of both the mother and the child. Tribes have no such care system. When it comes time to give birth, they go through the process on their own in an unprofessional setting.
A recent study by UNICEF found that vulnerable people, like the tribes, have the highest infant mortality rates due to preventable causes. This is where the American government can come into play. The United States has an infant mortality rate of 6 deaths per 1,000 live births. This number proves that the US system allows more children to live, so why not implement this system on the less advanced tribal people?
Our government is known to be one of the strongest and most advanced in the world. It can fund organizations to set up and run clinics that provide vaccinations, proper medication, doctors with the knowledge to help women give birth, and possibly even provide clothing.
All these actions combined will minimize the risks of someone falling ill, losing a child, and ultimately losing their own life. These people also need a way to communicate with the rest of the world, whether it is just to advance their culture or for emergency purposes. Therefore, it would be our duty to set up computers and phones in their areas in order to keep contact.
LIANA PAPIRIAN is a graduating senior at UC Irvine, studying public health science.