1. Introduction

RESEARCH PROPOSAL: YEAR TWO INTERDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH STUDIES

Research Topic (Global Challenge):

Global Health Care in third world countries

Chosen Area of Focus:

What can be done to bring necessary health care to developing countries affordably?

Group Members’ Names:

  1. Chua Shuei Ray Eusebius (11)
  2. Sean Lim Kai Xiang (19)
  3. Javier Tay Yu Cheng (15)
  4. Nikisha Tan-Mishra (06)





Health Care in Third World Countries

The Problem:



What is Heath Care? As termed by the Wikipedia, healthcare is “The organized provision of medical care to individuals or a community”.


What kind of medical care does this imply? Examples include seemingly trivial things like dentistry, optometry (which is the care of the eyes) and pharmacy, to more important services, like medicine, nursing and care providers. Medically qualified personnel, like doctors and nurses, carry out these duties, usually employing one of the three main health care methods:


  1. Primary care for those who make contact with patients to take care of them,
  2. Secondary care for those who help patients recover but don’t meet them and
  3. Tertiary care, which is a specialized service in which doctors and other medically qualified people carry out special medical procedures and services. (E.g important operations.)


These are the services that we all take for granted in our daily lives. But what about those who do not have access to this level of medical care, if at all? That is the aim of this study: To see what can be done to bring first world health care to third world countries affordably.


But why is health care important to research on? Health care is an essential trait of any government and its country, stemming from the fact as its population grows, the patient to doctor ratio increases, thus putting more stress on doctors and medical equipment. In third world countries, this is especially true, where there is a huge boom in population which grows faster than the health care service needed to serve their growing needs. Thus, more doctors and equipment are needed to treat a rising influx of patients.


Furthermore, there might be pandemics. Epidemical diseases might spread throughout a population and cause total damage, both physically and economically. Third world countries are particularly susceptible to pandemics as their sanitary services are not well established and their citizens generally not well educated on sanitation.


Poor health care may result in an overwhelming doctor to patient ratio, resulting in a shutdown of the nation’s health care, leaving the sick people with no form of support or treatment and leaving citizens to access to proper health care. This could eventually result in higher nationwide mortality rate, or worse, an uncontrollable epidemic spreading throughout the nation, Thus, a strong team of health care providers are required to curb a potential spread and take care of the nation’s wellbeing.


One example would be the World Health Organization (WHO), which is an important player in world health. It is possible for us to research into their efforts to make healthcare available world-wide.


But after we bring qualified doctors and top notch medical equipment, how to we make it affordable to be used? Such high quality medical care obviously comes with a price. Good doctors are paid more because of the time taken (17-21 years) to invest and develop their field of medical expertise. This fact makes it very hard to produce doctors as any drop out before they complete their training, thus the decline in the numbers of doctors. Doctors are also generally adamant serving in third world countries because the standards there do not meet theirs. Advanced medical equipment need to be repaired often, with some machines requiring expensive or hard to find parts vital to their operation. And if such parts cannot be found, the machine will be useless, unable to serve its function.


Additional money would also have to be pooled aside for other staff in hospitals such as sanitation workers and nurses to care for the warded. All of this, including electricity for equipment would total up to huge sum, making it difficult for underdeveloped governments to pay for it since their health care policies and funding have not yet been fully developed. Part of this money used to pay for these services comes from patients that pay for their medical bills. If the patients come from poorer backgrounds, how can they afford to pay for the medical fees they incur?


Proposed Solutions:



So how could we reduce the huge cost of health care?
  1. Implementing Affordable Health Care



We could implement affordable health care so that poorer citizens can pay the fees without leaving themselves stranded with a financial black hole. Why is this a viable path of research? Let’s look at this source:


Source 01


In this article, the author, one Karen Sewell, wrote about her husband’s cancer case and how the Affordable Care Act (Or Obamacare as it is more commonly known) helped him to avoid getting himself into a financial black hole before his career had even started.


However, this is not the main purpose of this article. Sewell later goes on to talk about how affordable health care insurance and affordable health care in itself could mean the difference between life or death, and a hard time paying the expenses after being saved. Obamacare helped her husband and other adults to be able to afford the enormous bill a life-saving operation for cancer implies. Thus, her conclusion was for those who thought badly of Obamacare think again about its implications as an active American law.


This information can be applied to our research project, namely proving our point that free health care is important as lower income families can afford the same health care services as middle class citizens. However, for the government to provide affordable health care we must ensure that the government will be able to set aside funds to subsidise part of their expenses.


To this effect, we could use research papers that show the mean, median and mode of income of families in third world countries. We could also use information gathered from surveys to achieve the same results as well.


  1. Finding cheaper ways of implementing existing solutions.



Another solution to reduce healthcare costs is to fund innovative research projects that offer cheap and effective solutions.


One such company that does so is Safaricom, which provides health care service with Daktari 1525, a call-in service based in Kenya. It provides Kenyans access to basic medical advice at a call, 24 hours a day, for a small fee. (Link to their website: http://healthmarketinnovations.org/program/daktari-1525-program.)


  1. Increasing the number of doctors and equipment to treat the increasing influx of patients.



We could also bring in educated doctors that are willing and certified to teach the locals in the ways of basic medical care via workshops and courses. Thus, hiring nurses and staff for hospitals become cheaper. Locals will also be able to treat less major cases. For example, a deep scratch that requires only sterilization and stitches, or a dislocated shoulder.


This solution will lessen the strain on hospitals by reducing the number of mundane medical cases handled by them, allowing more resources and time to be devoted to more urgent and serious cases.


Another viable research path comes from this article:


Source 02


This article comes from the company website of an industry called Murata Manufacturing Co., Ltd. This company manufacture electronic health care products. This article describes the reason why Murata chose to manufacture electronic health care products, including their third reason: “With this deficit of healthcare professionals, how can we continue to provide essential medical and social services?”


Since this company creates electronic products, we can infer that the company would like to replace doctors with machines that can diagnose minor medical problems. This is a plausible path of research we could take to solve the problem of not having enough doctors.

Summary:



As stated in the very beginning, our chosen area of focus is “What can be done to bring first world health care to third world countries affordably?”. How do we achieve this goal? Here are our three steps:


  1. Investing in companies and/or organizations that research into innovative ways help to provide health care service cheaply.
  2. Implementing affordable health care (e.g cheaper health care insurance and services) so poorer citizens can afford higher class health care services.
  3. Increasing the number of doctors and equipment helps to treat the increasing influx of patients.


Now that we have justified that our research is viable as well as stating what paths of research we shall take, we will now move on to our research process.


Research Plan:



To collect the information that we need, we shall have to depend on:


  1. The Internet (Secondary Source)
    1. A convenient and quick way of getting second hand information, which is used to draw conclusions and formulate interview and survey questions. May be unreliable and inaccurate, however.
  2. Interviews (Primary Source)
    1. They are a good way of getting first hand information about our topic, although many tend to be nervous and give mediocre answers.
  3. Surveys (Primary Source)
    1. Great way of finding out the opinions of others, but runs the risk of people not taking it seriously or bothering them by taking up their time.
  4. Books (Secondary Source)
    1. A surefire, yet difficult and slow to find, way to get what we need. Is a secondary method of getting information, so is subjected to biases but conclusions are more easily drawn and much more credible.


As we research, we are bound to encounter a lot of information that is irrelevant. How are we going to fish out the information that we need from the vast ocean of data we are searching through?


Methodology:



How would we be able to draw proper conclusions from the research materials we have gotten?


Here how we will do it:


  1. First, research and analyze secondary sources (e.g books, articles from the internet) to gather evidence that hypotheses are true.
  2. Secondly, use primary sources (e.g interviews and surveys) to support evidence found while researching into secondary sources.


When analyzing, here is the step-by-step process we will use (Thanks to Mr. Lim for teaching this mode of research.):

Step 1:



  1. Look at the structure of the text and identify the below three elements for easier understanding.
    1. Table of Contents
    2. Abstract
    3. Headings and sub-headings
  2. If the information is relevant, read it in-depth to find specific research details.
  3. Identify relevant material that we will use.

Step 2:



  1. Evaluation and critique of the source and content of the literature.
    1. Take in account date it was published.
    2. Use the 3C’s
      1. Credibility
      2. Consistency
      3. Corroboration
    3. Double check whether the information helps us

Step 3:



  1. Summarise information.
    1. Main points, theories and key issues clearly indicated.
      1. What is the author's stated or implied purpose?
      2. What conclusions has the author made?
      3. What points support the conclusions?
    2. Keep track of all quotes, page references and bibliographical information
    3. Note the way the author has used the original material.

Step 4:



  1. Analyse information
    1. Identify relationships and links in the research literature.
    2. Note similarities and differences between various author’s research designs and conclusions.


But it won’t only be one person doing the research. We’re a team. So we’ll split the workload.


  1. Research leaders (Sean and Javier) will assign topics to other teammates to research on.
  2. Research completed. *
  3. Research compiled. *
  4. Research then analyzed. *
  5. Conclusion drawn. *


*See research schedule.


Let’s move on to our research schedule!


Research Schedule:

T1
TASK TO BE COMPLETED
W6
  1. Meetup on Tuesday at 9.30 p.m
    1. Completion of Padlet
  2. Start sourcing Online Articles and Books for research.
    1. 2 articles and one book per team member.
  3. Deciding which article and books to use.
    1. Meet up online for discussion on Friday, 9.30 p.m.
    2. Decide which 4 out of 8 articles to use.
    3. Decide which 2 out of the 4 books to use.
  4. Meeting on Saturday, 10 a.m to go to Clementi Library to source books.
    1. Analyzing the selected books.
  5. Analyzing the selected articles.
    1. Each person assigned one article to analyze.
    2. Post findings on blog.
Due by Week 7, Tuesday.  
W7
  1. Meetup Tuesday night at 9.30 p.m
    1. Discussing analysis of data
    2. Starting on Conclusions
W8
Level Test 1
W9
  1. Meetup Tuesday night at 9.30 p.m
    1. Finish up Conclusions
    2. Start Planning Oral presentation
W10
  1. Filming of Oral Presentation
    1. (Exact date to be confirmed later on)

T2
TASK TO BE COMPLETED
W1
  1. Filming of Oral Presentation
    1. (Exact date to be confirmed later on)
W2
  1. Oral Presentation
  2. Submission of Research Paper
    1. Final touch ups before submission.

Conclusion:



Health care is an important aspect of our daily lives. Without it, our general well-being and standard of living would be of lower standards than what it is today. But many people around the world still do not have access to basic medical care, or are unable to reach it, whether financially or physically.


We have proved over the course of this proposal that our research into providing affordable health care is not only viable, but is also necessary. We hope that via our research, we will be able to find potential ways of making health care more accessible and affordable for people of lower living standards or income by:


  1. Reducing costs of medical services
  2. Making doctors and medical equipment more accessible

And with that, we end our research proposal. Thank you.


References:


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