Child mortality in the world drops below 10 million/year

This is good.  However, I believe we can do much better.  Most of the children who die each year are dying of easily preventable causes.  A NY Times article today had this to say at the very bottom:

In general, Ms. Veneman said, the countries that did best concentrated on extending simple measures to rural areas, and focusing on inexpensive prevention rather than expensive care.

Ethiopia, many of whose doctors and nurses emigrate, trained 30,000 community health workers for tasks like weighing babies, advising on breast-feeding, giving shots, testing for malaria and handing out mosquito nets.

Success, Ms. Veneman said, “is not just linked to money, it’s linked to setting priorities.”

And there is the grand key given by Ms. Veneman.  We don’t need to throw money at the problem so much as we need to switch our priorities.  Well, I think my take on it is slightly different than the intent of Ms. Veneman’s statement, but think what would happen if instead of sending 3 billion dollars worth of weapons to the Iraqi military this year, we sent 3 billion dollars worth of medical care. 

As Noam Chomsky has written on his blog:

“In Rwanda, for 100 days people were being killed at the rate of about 8000 a day, and we did nothing. Fast forward to today. In Africa, about 10,000 children a day are dying from easily treatable diseases, and we are doing nothing to save them. That’s not just 100 days, it’s every day, year after year, killing at the Rwanda rate. And far easier to stop then Rwanda: it just means pennies to bribe drug companies to produce remedies. But we do nothing.”

“Which raises another question: what kind of socioeconomic system can be so savage and insane that to stop Rwanda-scale killings among children going on year after year it’s necessary to bribe the most profitable industry that ever existed? That’s carrying socioeconomic lunacy beyond the bounds that even the craziest maniac could imagine? But we do nothing.”

“So what was learned from Rwanda. And why isn’t it a story? I think the reason is clear. It’s too hard to look into the mirror.”


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