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0431 Health in Developing Countries

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Complete Transcript
Welcome to English as a Second Language Podcast number 431: Health in Developing Countries.

This is English as a Second Language Podcast episode 431. I’m your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in beautiful Los Angeles, California.

Visit our website at eslpod.com. You can download a Learning Guide for this episode that gives you additional vocabulary, definitions, sample sentences, cultural notes, comprehension questions, and a complete transcript of everything we say on the audio podcast.

This episode is called “Health in Developing Countries,” countries that are still growing. It’s a dialogue between Silvia and Hermann about common problems in these countries. Let’s listen:

[start of dialogue]

Silvia: What are you watching?

Hermann: I’m watching a show about the health problems in developing countries.

Silvia: Don’t we have enough healthcare problems here, in this country?

Hermann: We do, but there are countries that have a lot more acute problems than we do.

Silvia: Oh, those kids are so cute.

Hermann: Yeah, but a lot of them are going to die of malnutrition and infectious diseases, things that are preventable.

Silvia: I thought the biggest problem was the spread of AIDS and HIV.

Hermann: Those are huge problems, no question about it, but a lot of people die of other preventable diseases, too, such as malaria, tuberculosis, and measles. Believe it or not, we’ve had immunizations for measles for over 40 years!

Silvia: That’s terrible. I can see why you’re studying medicine. I wish I could be a doctor.

Hermann: You could, but first, you’ll need to get over your fear of blood.

[end of dialogue]

Silvia begins by asking Hermann, “What are you watching?” – what are you watching on TV? Hermann says, “I’m watching a show about the health problems in developing countries.” Again, a “developing country” is a country usually that has lower income and often many health problems. To “develop” means to grow, to become larger; that’s another possible meaning. Usually, a developing country is a country that still has some serious economic problems.

Silvia says, “Don’t we have enough healthcare problems here, in this country?” “Healthcare” (one word) is the system and practice for taking care of people who are sick, trying to make them healthier. Hermann says, “We do (we do have many problems here in our country), but there are countries that have a lot more acute problems than we do.” “Acute,” here, means very serious, severe, strong. “Acute” has a couple of different meanings in English; take a look at our Learning Guide for some additional explanations.

Hermann points out that a lot of the children are going to die of malnutrition and infectious diseases, things that are preventable. “Malnutrition” means poor nutrition. “Nutrition” is a word that describes, in this case, food (what people eat). So, “malnutrition” is not having enough good food, healthy food. Sometimes this causes more health problems when someone doesn’t have enough to eat. “Infectious diseases” are diseases that can be passed from one person to the next. They are diseases, we say, that you can “catch” from someone else, meaning you can get them; they can be transmitted from one person to another. These sorts of problems, Hermann says, “are preventable.” Something that is “preventable” can be avoided, it’s not certain it can happened. You can prevent it, you can prevent it from happening; you can stop it from happening.

Silvia says, “I thought the biggest problem was the spread of AIDS and HIV.” “AIDS” stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. It’s a disease that usually causes death because your body cannot fight against other diseases and infections. “HIV” stands for Humanimmuno Deficiency Virus; it’s the virus that can cause AIDS. Hermann says, “Those are huge problems, no question about it,” meaning absolutely, there’s no doubt that these are serious problems (AIDS and HIV), “but a lot of people die of other preventable diseases, too, such as malaria, tuberculosis, and measles.” “Malaria” is an illness that you find in many hot, warm, what we would call “tropical” countries. It is caused by a type of mosquito that spreads the disease. The “mosquito” is a small flying insect; it bites a person. “Tuberculosis,” which we often in English just call “TB” – “TB” or “tuberculosis” is a serious disease that affects your lungs, your ability to breathe; it makes people cough. Tuberculosis was quite common in the United States and in other countries in the 19th century, especially in large cities. Tuberculosis is a “communicable” disease, meaning that it’s infectious – you can get it from other people. Many of my relatives who came to the United States the 19th century died of tuberculosis, living in large, crowded cities. “Measles” is a disease that causes, usually, a high “fever,” where the body temperature goes up. You often see small, red spots on a person’s skin when they have measles.

Hermann says, “Believe it or not, we’ve had immunizations for measles for over 40 years!” “Immunization” is protection against getting a disease. Usually it’s an “injection,” what we often call simply a “shot,” where the doctor or nurse takes a long, sharp piece of metal, a “needle,” and puts it in your arm and “injects,” or puts, medicine into your bloodstream. I went to the doctor the other day, recently, and I got a flu shot. This is a type of immunization. Young babies and children often receive several shots to “immunize” (the verb) them against common diseases like measles. Sometimes we describe these shots as “vaccinations.”

Silvia says, “That’s terrible. I can see why you’re studying medicine. I wish I could be a doctor,” Silvia says. Hermann says, “You could (you could be a doctor), but first, you’ll need to get over your fear of blood.” “Blood,” of course, is the red liquid that flows through your body. I’m like Silvia; I could never be a real doctor – a medical doctor. I don’t like the sight of blood either!

Now let’s listen to the dialogue, this time at a normal speed.

[start of dialogue]

Silvia: What are you watching?

Hermann: I’m watching a show about the health problems in developing countries.

Silvia: Don’t we have enough healthcare problems here, in this country?

Hermann: We do, but there are countries that have a lot more acute problems than we do.

Silvia: Oh, those kids are so cute.

Hermann: Yeah, but a lot of them are going to die of malnutrition and infectious diseases, things that are preventable.

Silvia: I thought the biggest problem was the spread of AIDS and HIV.

Hermann: Those are huge problems, no question about it, but a lot of people die of other preventable diseases, too, such as malaria, tuberculosis, and measles. Believe it or not, we’ve had immunizations for measles for over 40 years!

Silvia: That’s terrible. I can see why you’re studying medicine. I wish I could be a doctor.

Hermann: You could, but first, you’ll need to get over your fear of blood.

[end of dialogue]

Our script was written by one of the best writers I know – no question about it! – Dr. Lucy Tse.

From Los Angeles, California, I’m Jeff McQuillan. Thank you for listening. Come back and listen to us next time on ESL Podcast.

English as a Second Language Podcast is written and produced by Dr. Lucy Tse, hosted by Dr. Jeff McQuillan. This podcast is copyright 2008.

Glossary
developing country – a country with low income, little industry, and many health problems compared to other, richer countries

* She has spent years living in developing countries all over the world.


healthcare – the system and practice of caring for people who are sick and injured

* Healthcare is very expensive in the United States, so many poor people don’t have enough money to see a doctor when they are sick.


acute – severe; very serious, strong, and important

* Fritz was in the hospital for two weeks because he had an acute infection.


malnutrition – malnourishment; not having enough healthy food, so that one weighs too little and has many health problems

* There is a lot of malnutrition in that villag because there is nothing to eat but white rice.


infectious disease – an illness that can be passed from one person to another

* When restaurant workers wash their hands before touching food, they are less likely to share infectious diseases with customers.


preventable – something that can be avoided; something that will not happen if certain other things are done

* The deaths in the fire would have been preventable if the exit doors hadn’t been locked.


spread – expansion; the way that something affects more and larger areas over time; growth

* The spread of cell phones has changed the way that people communicate with each other.


AIDS – acquired immune deficiency syndrome; a disease that usually causes death because one’s body cannot fight well against other illnesses and infection

* People who have AIDS have to take very good care of themselves so that they don’t catch a cold.


HIV – human immunodeficiency virus; the very small thing that enters a human body and causes AIDS after a few years

* Can pregnant mothers pass HIV to their unborn children?


no question about it – a phrase used to give emphasis and show that one is 100% certain about what one is saying, or that something is definitely true

* There’s no question about it. This summer is the hottest summer that we’ve had in years!


malaria – an illness in many warm tropical countries that is caused by a type of mosquito (a small flying insect) biting a person

* The guide told us that if we don’t want to get malaria, we needed to cover our skin so that mosquitoes can’t bite us.


tuberculosis – a serious disease that affects the lungs, making people cough and have difficulty breathing

* The man sitting next to me on the plane was coughing so much that I started to worry that he might have tuberculosis.


measles – a disease that causes a fever (high body temperature) and small red spots on a person’s skin

* Many people get the measles when they are young children.


immunization – protection against getting a disease; an injection (shot) or something that is swallowed to prepare one’s body to fight against a disease in the future so that one never gets sick from it

* The baby received an immunization against hepatitis.


blood – the red liquid that flows through one’s body

* His blood type is B+.

Comprehension Questions
1. Which of these is an infectious disease?
a) Malnutrition.
b) Tuberculosis.
c) Immunization.

2. What does Hermann mean when he says, “no question about it”?
a) He needs to learn more about the topic.
b) He fully agrees with what Silvia said.
c) He wishes the test had a question on that topic.

Answers at bottom.

What Else Does It Mean?
acute

The word “acute,” in this podcast, means severe, very serious, strong, and important: “Everyone is worried about the acute rise in the price of gas, food, and other things.” Or, “He felt acute pain when he broke his ankle.” The word “acute” can also refer to a sense like sight, hearing, or smell that is very good and accurate: “Thanks to his acute hearing, he was able to hear every word of the quiet conversation across the room.” Or, “Police use dogs with an acute sense of smell to help them find drugs in suitcases at the airport.” When talking about geometry and shapes, an “acute” angle is an angle that is less than 90 degrees: “The triangle has two acute angles.”

blood

In this podcast, the word “blood” means the red liquid that flows through one’s body: “A drop of blood fell onto the carpet when she accidentally cut her finger.” The phrase “in cold blood” means in a mean way or cruelly: “The man murdered his business partner in cold blood.” The phrase “to make (one’s) blood run cold” means to make someone very scared or frightened: “That horror movie made my blood run cold!” The phrase “to make (one’s) blood boil” means to make someone very angry: “Every time he sees someone drive dangerously, it makes his blood boil.” Finally, the phrase “blood, sweat, and tears” is used to talk about something that is very difficult to do and requires a lot of hard work: “It took a lot of blood, sweat, and tears, but they finally finished building their own home.”

Culture Note
In the United States, many “nonprofit organizations” (groups that exist to help other people, but not necessarily to make money) are involved in healthcare. In fact, many private hospitals and “clinics” (medical offices) are actually nonprofit organizations. Other nonprofit organizations “provide” (give) medical care to people who might not be able to “afford” (be able to pay for) it normally.

Some nonprofits provide medical care to specific “communities” (similar people who live and work together). For example, some nonprofits provide medical care for the “homeless,” or people who do not have a place to live. The homeless spend most of their time outdoors, even if the weather is bad. Many of them don’t “have access to” (cannot find or use) clean water or good food. This causes many health problems, but the homeless don’t have enough money to pay to see a doctor for “preventative healthcare” (medical treatment to keep one healthy so that one does not get sick later). Fortunately, some nonprofits have special days when the homeless can come to a special place and see a doctor for free or for very little money.

Other nonprofits provide medical care to “low-income children” (children from families with very little money). Children who meet their “eligibility requirements” (things that must be true for someone to participate in a program) might be able to have the organization pay some or all of the cost for them to see a doctor.

Many healthcare-related nonprofit organizations focus on specific diseases. For example, the Muscular Dystrophy Association tries to “raise money” (collect money) for research on muscular dystrophy and help people who have the disease.

Comprehension Answers
1 - b

2 - b