For those who live in certain Third World countries, death from treatable illnesses such as malaria and sleeping sickness, is a paradoxical reality. Fortunately, awareness of the disparity is increasing as American medical groups have chosen to provide a voice for those who are not viable consumers for pharmaceutical companies .

Paul Wong
Visitors to the Doctors Without Borders exhibit received a card describing a disease. In a role-playing exercise, Rackham student Bethany Lemm receives a simulated medical consultation from Steven Untracht.

One such group is Doctors Without Borders, a humanitarian organization based in New York City that provides emergency medical care to inhabitants of more than 85 nations.

The organization includes volunteer doctors, nurses, water/sanitation engineers, logistic experts and other members of the medical profession who are commissioned to treat victims of war casualities, disasters, epidemics and those who live in rural areas.

“Most of us can’t imagine not being able to get medical treatment if we get sick,” said Nicolas de Torrente, Executive Director of Doctors Without Borders USA.

“Yet in poor countries, people are dying every day because the medications used to treat the diseases are too expensive, no longer effective or are not currently being produced.”

Doctors Without Borders is currently engaged in a 30-city tour of the U.S., which features an extensive exhibit, “Access to Essential Medicines EXPO” designed to underscore the lack of life-saving medicines available to citizens of developing nations.

Currently, the organization is hosting the exhibit in Ann Arbor, across from the School of Public Health Building. The exhibit will run through the weekend from 10-6 p.m.

“Access to Essential Medicines EXPO” is open to the public and includes such attractions as a Wheel of Misfortune, in which visitors are appointed one of five illnesses shown in the exhibit.

Upon assignment of a disease, visitors are exposed to graphic photographs displaying the progression of the illness and given a diagnoses by MSF medical volunteers.

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