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June 11, 2010

The Clash of the Genes and Social Titans: Day 7 of the 7th Global Health Course

It was a long day for all of us and it was expected that the topics on non-communicable diseases would have been a livelier one. It was actually on some parts of it. I personally preferred the topic on Global Tobacco Control being a personal advocate against smoking. While we did end on time, it was definitely a draining day. By the afternoon, everyone was almost too tired to even think. The topic on Mental health for example, while personally relevant, was almost too dragging, with lengthy introductions and emphasis on the clinical aspect on the common mental illnesses affecting the world. I would have wanted the discussion to focus on how the nations are collectively or individually addressing mental health issues and perhaps share best practices or failures in the approach to mental health.

I definitely admired the Chilean health system with regards to mental health. According to the Chilean doctors, mental health is being address at the primary level. Each common mental illness has a protocol on how to manage the patient at the primary level. In the Philippines though, I have yet to encounter a written protocol on how to manage and approach mental health care at the municipal level.

It seems mental health is not much of a priority in the country and yet it is the third leading cause of disability among Filipinos, just next to visual and hearing impairments.

The lesson for the day though with regards to non-communicable diseases is that their development largely depends on the genes and the social determinants, particularly the lifestyle of the patient. While there are some patients who are genetically inclined to develop such diseases, others may acquire such diseases through their choice of lifestyle.


It was a tiring day so I had to reward myself. After class, Ryan, Paul and I went to centrum to a store where they were selling electronic devices at discounted prices. They were all on sale for the summer so we went inside to find cellphones for as low as 12,000 pesos only. For example, N90 navigator was only 200 euros or somewhere around 12,000 pesos. In the Philippines, it might cost you already somewhere near 25,000 to 30,000 pesos.

I had to buy something for myself so I bought an external hard drive 160G Transcend brand for only 15 euros. The original price was 59 euros.

From there we went pass the central part of town where a Trade Fair was going on. There were cultural presentations and booths selling local delicacies and crafts. We went around to look for souvenirs. Generally they were pretty much expensive. Similar hand-made crafts back home in the Philippines can be bought way cheaper.

From the Trade Fair we went to the malls to look for other sources of souvenirs. Then after dinner we headed back to the flat. I had to meet my group for the reporting tomorrow on infectious diseases. My group will be reporting on Genital Chlamydia.

I met up with my group composed of 3 Finns, 1 Nepalese and 1 Filipino at the 3rd Floor Kitchen area. The scene was so totally international. While our group was discussing our report, there were other nationalities present as well busy preparing for their own dinner. On the other end, some Japanese girls were slicing some vegetables. On the other table was a Spaniard mixing some of his ingredients as well. The Chileans were busy cooking up a storm. The exchanges of language and scent was so overwhelming.

A few minutes later, I headed back to my room where I am now checking out my newly bought external hard drive.

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