Wednesday, April 9, 2008

College student's research paper

I, (David) was emailed by a young man in college who is doing a research paper on “Disease in Africa.” He wanted to know a little about us and what we think is going on in Africa concerning disease. This is what I told him.

Every disease known to man is here and pretty common. There are many infections and parasites because of the poor living conditions and lack of medical care. 80 percent of the population lives many miles from a clinic and further from a hospital. That may not sound far for someone with a car, paved roads and a few dollars in your pocket, but for the average African with no transport of any kind, dirt paths at best and no money it is a different story. No free health care. Death is common place here. Most people have been to hundreds of funerals to bury their relatives and friends. In many families most of the adults under 50 are dead because they are the ones that are sexually active. It is only the old that seem to be safe from AIDS. HIV is everywhere and the statistics that are posted and bragged about are not true. Everyone we talk to here that are in the know, doctors, lab techs, reporters ECT. believe it is at least 20-30%. Everyone here knows many people that are infected and hide it because of the stigma attached to the disease. It has been reported that Ugandans are the most sexually promiscuous group of people in Africa.

Malaria is the main killer, killing hundreds everyday. The only answer is to kill the mosquitoes and the only thing that works and is cost effective is DDT. Every first world country with a mild climate had malaria at one time or another and it was eradicated by using DDT. Malaria costs the world $20,000,000,000 every year. With wide spread use of DDT it would cost $10,000,000,000 over 2 years to completely wipe out malaria. DDT is proven to be safe if used correctly. Don't believe the horror stories, they are lies made up by the pharmaceutical companies to sell drugs to treat it. There are billions of dollars made from malaria every year. Some believe that they use malaria as population control. Go figure. It is always about the buck.

I think that if the 1st world countries really wanted to eradicate disease in Africa or other 3rd world counties, they would have done it already. 1st world countries pour millions of dollars into Africa every year to have the money stolen by some government official, used incorrectly or just plain wasted by the organizations that are supposed to be doing something besides buying expensive Land Rovers and drinking coffee all day long. The other side is that business wants to make money from disease. If they brought the disease level to where it is in first world countries, they would have to deal with a population explosion this world has never seen. They would have to deal with 10 billion mad Africans with no water, food or electricity. Basically no infrastructure of any kind to support the growth.

We came here with the intention to help cure these problems in the romantic way by giving and helping everyone we could. After being here for awhile you realize we must help these people help themselves. We have created a hand out culture here. I call it the “Welfare Society.” They want the white man to save them and he can’t. I came out of the business world in Middle America not the NGO or charity world. I see things a little differently than a lot of people do. The only way to cure the issues in Africa is to raise the economical level of the people of Africa. Doing honest business and creating millions of jobs is the answer. Get the average person off the dirt floor and on to concrete and into a bed, clean water, good nutrition and proper sanitation. Raise their level of living and you will cure a lot of the disease. Training sound business principles. Stamping out corruption. Giving a hand up, not a hand out. I don’t know if this is what you wanted to hear or not and it may not get you an "A", but from where I come from it is what I see.

Some things to think about: Things here are definitely different than in the western world. Our ideas of how things are in Africa, sitting in our homes with A/C, heat, running water, pantry stocked with food, electricity, a roof that doesn’t leak, proper flooring and windows watching CNN, Fox , CNBC, CBS, NBC, or ABC isn’t really real life. It’s not reality. Not that we are experts by any means, but studying about it in a book or hearing about it on the news doesn’t give you a clear picture of what is really going on here or what is needed to change the situation.

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