Thursday, September 15, 2011

Credit where due

OK, this is worth a second post today. Infant mortality is falling:
The number of children under five who die each year has plummeted from 12 million in 1990, to 7.6 million last year, the UN says.
The report is Levels & trends in child mortality : report 2011: "Nearly 21,000 children under five died every day in 2010—about 12,000 fewer a day than in 1990." That's 12,000 additional survivors per day, and it's taken 20 years. Further:
Globally, the four major killers of children under age 5 are pneumonia (18 percent), diarrhoeal diseases (15 percent), preterm birth complications (12 percent) and birth asphyxia (9 percent). Undernutrition is an underlying cause in more than a third of under-five deaths. Malaria is still a major killer in Sub-Saharan Africa, causing about 16 percent of under-five deaths.
these are of course, mostly preventable. Just to concretise that, of the 21,000 dying everyday, 7,000 are due to starvation and starvation related diseases. As I've observed on this blog before, for a handful of dollars anti-Malarial netting could be distributed. Saving far more lives than any bomber squadron ever could.

So, theme of the day, within capitalism, through a concerted effort (not via the mysterious workings of the invisible hand) the hideous slaughter of poverty is being reduced. We could, and should, be able to go further and faster.

Just as an end note, let's not forget that the so-called global crisis (and it's impact on food prices) could well reverse this trend. Further, though, I don't know what could be more deserving of being called a crisis than 7.6 million annual deaths through poverty. It should be top of the news everyday: today, 21,000 infants will die. This report shows the corrosive effects of udnerdevelopment:
According to the World Health Organization some three-quarters of medical devices given by rich countries to developing nations remain unused.


Prof Chris Lavy, an orthopaedic surgeon who has spent time in Africa, said: "One of the newest hospitals in sub-Saharan Africa was built with infrared sensors to turn the taps on in the operating theatres.

"Wonderful idea, but is it really appropriate in a country where there are no other infrared controlled taps and no engineer to fix them? Within a year most of them had failed, some of them in the off position, and some of them in the on position."

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