Monday, May 08, 2006

What kills twice as many as malaria, and can be stopped for 1/100 the cost?

This is good, because I don't have to write. I can just fill in the blanks.

I haven't had the time to write about all the posts from others that I've bookmarked, like the one over on the Blogfathers about somebody's child. I was so happy to read that, because it's this effort and so many like it that Mama spends her days working on. Which makes it all the more frustrating when Bush, Cheney, and their cabal of compassionate conservatives refuse to fund the U.N.

I guess that preventing the needless death of children is not a family value.

While we're at it, and since parents never stop talking about poop, let's talk about diarrhea, which kills 2.2 million people every year--twice as many people as malaria does. Eighty percent of those killed by diarrhea are under two years old. Malaria nets are a worthwhile investment at $10 per net; for a mere 10 cents per dose, oral rehydration salts (ORS) can prevent deaths due to diarhhea.

In fact, I have ORS to thank for Mama's safe return from Nigeria, which she visited last year to check on the status of grants and programs relating to basic sanitation and preventitive health care. She traveled with doctors from the World Health Organization and the U.N., going from village to village over about a week, before returning to Abuja for a few days of conferences. On the last day in the field, one of her Nigerian traveling partners stopped and got Mama some roasted food from a roadside stand. Mama figured that it was safe, given the circumstances and she ate it and enjoyed it.

Later that night, however, she started getting sick, but she thought that she would just tough it out through the night. However, she was getting weaker--to the point that she was having difficulty moving around. Fortunately, one of the WHO doctors called to check on her. When he heard her voice, he immediately asked about her health, asking specific details that I won't go into here. Fortune again smiled on her because the doctor had just stocked an emergency kit for his family because, in Nigeria, healthcare is not reliable, even for a doctor, and getting medicine is difficult at best, and impossible at night, even in the capital city.

He raced over and gave her medicine and had her start on ORS. By morning, she was feeling better--good enough to call home again, and let me know that she was through the worst of it, at which I breathed a sigh of relief. However, I don't think that either of us knew, while she was going through this or immediately afterward, how bad it had been. Based on what the doctors said in the following days, however, I think we're fortunate that Mama was travelling with the WHO and U.N., that they checked up on her regularly, and that she didn't try to tough it out through the night (lesson to all the boys who might just try to suck it up). Without any one of those elements, including the vital ORS, this quickly would have become a dire medical emergency for Mama with tragic results.

Imagine how a mother and father in a Nigerian village--without doctors, without medicine, and without ORS must feel when their infant or toddler develops diarhhea due to poor sanitation. They must know that it is likely that their child will die shortly, and that there is nothing they can do to prevent it. I cannot imagine what their despair and panic must feel like.

So, yes. By all means, contribute to the bed net campaign. They are desperately needed. If you are looking for something else to do, and still have some change jingling in your pocket, consider giving to support clean water and ORS. The UK chapter of UNICEF has a site where you can contribute to their campaign to provide ORS. If you would rather donate to the U.S. chapter of UNICEF, you can donate to their Water and Sanitation Programs.

And now, back to the tagback.

More of the same:

Four jobs you have had in your life:
1. Copy boy at IBM.
2. Office boy at EPRI
3. Customer service phone boy at Verifone
4. Temp boy at the Palm Springs Follies (where I later became the SM)

Four movies you would watch over and over (in no specific order):
1. "What is it, Major Lawrence, that attracts you personally to the desert?" "It's clean." (cheating by using Bro #2's #1 answer for places--but it really is at the top of my list . . . it's like we're related or something)
2. "Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?" (cheating again by recycling Brother #2's #2 answer, which brings us to my #3 . . .)
3. "Your boss is quite a card player. How does he do it?" "He cheats."
4. La Jetee

Four places you have lived:
1. Glendale, California
2. Mad Creek Ranger Station, Mad Creek, Colorado
3. Yucca Valley, California
4. Many Glacier Hotel, Montana

Four TV shows you love to watch:
1. West Wing
2. Daily Show
3. Twin Peaks

Six places you have been on vacation:
1. Many Glacier Hotel, Montana
2. Tehachapi, California
3. Marrakesh, Morocco
4. Barcelona, Spain
5. Phantom Ranch, Grand Canyon
6. Benson, Vermont

Four Websites you visit daily:
1. Google News
2. Gmail
3. Bloglines
4. Cycling News

Four of your favorite foods:
1. Mom's macaroni and cheese
2. Eggs florentine
3. Whatever they're serving at the Green Zebra
4. Roasted eggplant over couscous in Djemaa el-Fna

Four places you would rather be right now:
1. "What is it, Major Lawrence, that attracts you personally to the desert?" "It's clean."
2. Mad Creek Ranger Station, Mad Creek, Colorado
3. On the road to Hautacam
4. Roasted eggplant over couscous in Djemaa el-Fna

Four people you are tagging who I think might respond:
1. Zygote Daddy, because what he needs right now is another writing assignment
2. Chris Hunt, former roommate . . . I suppose I should tell him that I have a blog first, eh?
3. Butch
4. Sundance
5. Alias

Four things I always carry with me:
1. "If I get an apartment, that's two keys; if I get a job, you know, um, I might have to open or close; that's more keys."
2. Earrings
3. Wedding ring
4. Watch


  1. Um, excellent post, Mr. Brother Sir. I call to your attention your post of March 21, which I believe got this whole reflexive ball rolling. They say the short-term memory is the first to--I'm sorry, what was I saying?

    Anyhow, it's all a fine evolution. Don't look back.

  2. Laugh it up, fuzzball.

    March 21? That's very first-quarter 2006. How could I remember anything from that long ago?

    Besides, you never step into the same river twice, I got a kid on the way, I'm 37, baby. . .standing in the middle of the road with my pants behind me.

    I think that, like the insomnia that comes and goes, the memory loss is just my body practicing for parenthood.

    That's my story, and I'm sticking with it.

  3. Those pup tags at the top of the post say Brockport on them! That's right outside of Rochester! Ha!

    I'm glad Mama got through her sickness in Africa! YIKES!!!

  4. Uh oh, more to write? I suppose, seeing how it's 4:46 in the am, I could use a little distraction...

  5. I call your attention to:


    I'm just browsing. I'm not offering any opinions. Less death is good, I guess.