Friday, October 07, 2005

How would YOU spend $3.9 Billion

While so many of us in developed countries focus our attention on the not-yet-real avian flu pandemic, wringing our hands and federal budgets to figure out how to protect our own lives, the World Bank has some data to help put all of our concerns into a new perspective:

From Water, Sanitation & Hygiene

Inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene account for a large part of the burden of illness and death in developing countries:

Approximately 4 billion cases of diarrhea per year cause 2.2 million deaths, most – 1.7 million – are children under the age of five, about 15% of all under 5 deaths in developing countries.

Diarrheal diseases account for 4.3% of the total global disease burden (62.5 million DALYs). An estimated 88% of this burden is attributable to unsafe drinking water supply, inadequate sanitation, and poor hygiene. These risk factors are second, after malnutrition, in contributing to the global burden of disease.

Does this not cause you to pause and wonder if, just maybe, last week’s Senate vote to provide $3.9 billion in emergency funds to plan for and react to a bird-flu outbreak in the USA could have been allocated to a more pressing human health need?

Worse than how easily we can be whipped into a frenzy about dangers that may (or may not) lurk in our own dark corners, is how easily we can ignore the appalling living conditions in which the majority of the world’s people live. Be they in Asia, Africa or the poorest neighborhoods in America, my guess is that most people in the world don’t have the time or energy to worry about some future virus they may never live to see.

Enough kvetching - here's a challenge for you – and I’ll offer a prize to the person who responds with the most creative and compassionate idea.

If you were in the Senate, how would you vote to spend $3.9 billion?

Back up your idea with an argument or two.

I’ll mail one person a copy of a fantastic book called, “The Power of Giving: Creating abundance in your home, at work, and in your community.” I think the message in this book is so important that I bought four copies to give away – I have one left.

I’d love to see some creative thinking. And I’ll let you all decide who I should mail the book to. Please post your ideas. Debate and/or support each other’s ideas.

Herbinator, Lil Bobo, Alisa, Gina, Free Thinker, Omni, Dawn, The Fly, Caron, Pam, Salem Watchen, Polanco, Bryan & Cherene, Toad734 …and the rest of you… Think of the power we would have if all of us engaged in some collective problem-solving together!

And if you think your blog readers may have some good ideas for how to spend US tax-payer money, send them on over to Shattering Rose-Colored Glasses where new ideas are always welcome.


Blogger Gina said...

I've not over looked your post, I'm stewing over it for a while. I'll get back with an answer soon!

But I can say that it won't be used to recreat old flu viruses!

October 08, 2005  
Blogger Gina said...

My thoughts, I personally would send they money (and more, but hey I'm working for the gov so I can do that!) to provide tax credits for stay at home parents.

Now hear me out, they are now saying that the main vecors of the flu.

"Preschoolers may signal the arrival of flu season: Thirty days after hacking 3- and 4-year-olds start showing up in doctors’ offices and emergency rooms, flu-ridden adults follow."

many are calling for widespread vaccination of preschoolers to cut down the spread of the flu, but I say if we didn't lock are kids up in these daycare centers then there wouldn't be a flu pandemic.

Any parent who's had a kid in daycare (and I have when my son was 1 yo) will tell you they are a petrei dish of illness. We called it our enrollment to the illness of the month club.

By giving parents incentives to stay home, we'll have less spread of the flu. I know tons of mothers that would stay home if they could, and having the government, the pro-family government, put their money where their mouth is, is just what we need!!

October 12, 2005  

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