Better Health for All


| March 13, 2009


Ensuring basic health care for people in low-income countries is critical to the Plan B goal of eradicating poverty and stabilizing population. While heart disease and cancer (largely the diseases of aging), obesity and smoking dominate health concerns in industrial countries, in developing countries, infectious diseases are the overriding health concern. Besides AIDS, the principal diseases of concern are diarrhea, respiratory illnesses, tuberculosis, malaria and measles. Child mortality is high.

Progress in reaching the United Nations (U.N.) Millennium Development Goal of reducing child mortality two thirds by 2015 is lagging badly. As of 2005, only 32 of 147 developing countries were on track to reach this goal. In 23 countries child mortality has either remained unchanged or risen. And only two of the World Bank’s 35 fragile states are on track to meet this goal by 2015.

Along with the eradication of hunger, ensuring access to a safe and reliable supply of water for the estimated 1.1 billion people who lack it is essential to better health for all. Now the realistic option in many cities may be to bypass efforts to build costly water-based sewage removal and treatment systems and instead opt for water-free waste disposal systems that do not disperse disease pathogens. This switch would help alleviate water scarcity, reduce the dissemination of disease agents in water systems, and help close the nutrient cycle — a win-win-win situation.

One of the most impressive health gains has come from a campaign initiated by a little-heralded nongovernmental group in Bangladesh known as BRAC, which taught every mother in the country how to prepare oral rehydration solution to treat diarrhea at home by simply adding salt and sugar to water. BRAC succeeded in dramatically reducing infant and child deaths from diarrhea in a country that was densely populated, poverty-stricken, and poorly educated.

Seeing this great success, UNICEF used BRAC’s model for its worldwide diarrheal disease treatment program. This global administration of a remarkably simple oral rehydration technique has been extremely effective — reducing deaths from diarrhea among children from 4.6 million in 1980 to 1.6 million in 2006. Few investments have saved so many lives at such a low cost.

The war against infectious diseases is being waged on a broad front. Perhaps the leading privately funded life-saving activity in the world today is the childhood immunization program. In an effort to fill the gap in this global program, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation invested more than $1.5 billion through 2006 to protect children from infectious diseases such as measles. Additional investment can help the many countries that cannot afford vaccines for childhood diseases and are falling behind in their vaccination programs. Lacking the funds to invest today, these countries pay a far higher price tomorrow. There are not many situations in which just a few pennies spent per youngster can make as much difference as vaccination programs can.





mother earth news fair 2018 schedule

MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

Next: April 28-29, 2018
Asheville, NC

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!

LEARN MORE



Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

Money-Saving Tips in Every Issue!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).


Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard


Copyright 2018, All Rights Reserved
Ogden Publications, Inc., 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, Kansas 66609-1265