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Between Wars and Killer Diseases Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Oluwatosin, Nigeria Feb 7, 2007
Health , Human Rights , Diseases   Opinions


Even if we don’t want to face it, the world powers are spending more on military than on humanitarian problems. We spend so much on war prevention, terrorism and military activities but spend little for humanitarian purposes.

The world is making progress in its fight against terrorism and other forms of war but very little progress in its fight against killer diseases ravaging the world. This imbalance is what I will like to call "fundamental international selfishness."

The number of people who have died from preventable-turned killer diseases is far greater than the number of people killed in all the wars of the 20th Century put together. An example is the influenza epidemic of 1919 which killed more people than the two world wars combined. The epidemic was rather on a small scale before the outbreak of the first world war. But it was given little or no attention because nations were busy preparing for the war until the epidemic struck the world mercilessly.

Has the world changed?

There are six killer diseases ravaging our world with no known solutions, largely because the world is not doing enough to fight them. HIV/AIDS kills more than three million people every year; diarrhea kills more than two million annually; malaria is the cause of the death of almost two million people every year and worse still, most of its victims are children; measles accounts for loss of over half a million lives per year; pneumonia kills about two million children under the age of five every year; while tuberculosis causes over 1.5 million deaths every year. These diseases put together have killed an approximately half a billion people since the beginning of the 20th Century. To face the reality, these six undefeated foes still exist because the world wants them to continue to exist.

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria established in 2004 has asked the world governments for $13 billion to help curb these three major killers. Total pledges for the fund have so far been way short of the targeted amount, while annually worldwide, military spending is not less than an estimated $700 billion. If 20 per cent of this amount were spent on the fight against these killer diseases, the death rate would be drastically reduced. Even with the best of intentions, health authorities and scientists always find themselves handicapped in their fight against these diseases and world governments may not provide the necessary money.

The Alma-Ata Declaration of September 12, 1978 states, “All countries should cooperate in a spirit of partnership and service to ensure primary health care for all people since the attainment of health by people in any one country directly concerns and benefits every other country.” But what has been the world’s response to this declaration? The world’s follow-up has been highly disappointing. Health care is by no means universal and infectious diseases are still a threat to the health of billions of people on earth. The diseases often strike down children as well as adults in their prime of life while governments keep spending billions of dollars on wars and terrorism.

How then do we keep the balance in check on our spending and efforts at ensuring a better world? Nobody is denying the fact that the fight against terrorism and war prevention efforts are for the development of the world, but neglecting other equally important world developmental problems for military problems is unacceptable. Fighting for world peace through military spending and fighting to bring the spread of killer diseases are equally important. If there is a war, there will be new diseases and nobody will like that to happen. And if diseases continue to ravage the world, its economy will suffer.

Therefore, governments need to realise that as they spend on military purposes, they should spend on humanitarian efforts, particularly the fight against the world killer diseases. Take the case of ARVs for people living with HIV, for example. If the world is serious about providing ARVs for most of the affected people and reducing death rate, why should the governments and the manufacturing companies be selling ARVs to the developing world, the most affected?

All that health authorities, scientists and the world in general need to do
to have headway in the effective fight against the killer diseases and other humanitarian problems confronting the world is for governments to pump at least one-third of what they are currently spending on military activities into the health sector.



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between wars and killer diseases- comment
Valentina S. | May 30th, 2007
I definitely agree with the author of this article. The point is the following: too often governments get interested in a country and its problems only if it has some underground resources or if it has a strategic geographical position (see the Iraqi war) Even more often they support one part involved in a conflict (possibly the one that provides the greater economic/social advantages), without really caring about people, their health, their conditions. It's this selfish, hypocritical mentality of propaganda that we need to change: governments and world leaders must understand that, for example the Darfur situation, does not need hypocritical words, those words politics uses. It just needs help, a true help, which means acting for the good of the people. Finally, we, the so called "western countries" should be aware of the fact that wealth and resources of the planet have to be more equally redistributed: the world needs justice. Valentina, Italy

meddahi | Sep 19th, 2007
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم والصلاة والسلام على أشرف المرسلين وعلى آله وأصحابه أجمعين أما بعد .. ببعد التحية والسلام على أهل المحبة والإكرام لقد أضفت إلى القصيدة 16بيت من الشعر أرجو أن تنال إعجابكم وبجانبي صديقي الحميم وهو طالب نجيب ذو قريحة قوية تعتمد على الحفظ والإستذكار أتمنى له كل التوفيق ولكل الدارسين والدارسات آمبن والله ولي التوفيق الشاعر العصامي مداحي العيد هذه القصيدة من بحر الطويل 28/08/2007 قد انحــدر الدمــع من الأحـــداق ..... فـما أصـعـب الوجــد بعـد الفـراق... لقد أرقــتـني بهـــواها في ليال قد....... عــوى الذئــبُ فيها من الإشتياق ... فـما أعــــذب الحــبَّ إذا كان وافيا ....... تُـتـــمّهُ مكــــــــــارم الخـــلاق.... فذبت كما الشمع يذوب على ثوب......... العشيق ولـم يـدر من الإرهاق.... ولولا المحـــــبة التي ليَّـنت قلبا ........... فصارت عواطفه مثل البراق.... لكان الفؤاد كصوان الجـمادات .......... على النار يرمـــونه للإحتراق.... فأصبح من هوى الحبيبة عاطلا ......... كطــير أصـيبَ في جناح الأفاق.... فزالت عزائم الحــياة من القلب .......... تفـتَّتَ جــسم الفـتى كـالأوراق.... وما أهون الحبََّ الذي كان مبنيا ......... على النــــفع هيـّنٌ كمثل النفاق.... وما الحبُّ إلا نخلةٌ سمقت تُعطي......... لكُلّ مــن الأجــــــيال تمر المذاق. وحر الهوى أذاب قطب المشاعر ........ كنـهـر جرت مياهه في السواقي نمت به أشجار تــــدلت ثمارها ......... من الغصـن تـُقطـف من الإلتصاق ... فكــيف سنشـعــر بقيمتـنا إن لم ......... نُـفـعــّلْ مــحـــــــبةً نأت بالطلاق ... وهل ينفع العــناق إن كان قلبكَ ......... بعـــيدٌ كبعــد المشـــرقين واقي ... إذا كان حبهم من القــلب يمكث .......... إذا بقيت أرواحــهم في الرماق ... ونحن نحبذ المحـــبة إن كانت ........... مصـــادرها منــــابع الأشـواق... إذا ما صفا القـــاعُ رأيتَ لآلئا ........... بريـقٌ صفــاؤها مع الماء راقي .... لقد حيّرت بحسنها أعيُنا راغت......... إليــها بـــــــــلا رويــة كالبُــراق... ولولا الغرام ما عرفتُ المحبة ........ التي شغــلت قــلـبا يريد التـلاقي... فتى ً قد أصيبَ قلبُهُ من كدر الهوى...... هُمومٌ تراكمت على الأعناق... لقد أرّقــــته أحـــــــــلامٌ تركّـبت........ من العشق إستحسانُه كالمذاق... أتت تشتكي من شغف الحبّ قد أذى ..... مشاعرها من لوعةِ الإشتياق.. فقلتُ لها إصبري على العشق صبرا قد.....تنالين منه عـــزّةَ الأخلاق... بكت من حرارة الجوى أدمُعا كوت ...... فؤادي ووجداني من الأعماق... وقالت فكــيف يصبرُ القلبُ قبل أن ....... يرى القلبَ راض أمام الرفاق.. تحسرتُ باكــــيا علـيها وكـيف لا ...... تســيل دُمـــوعُنا مـن الأحداق شكرا لكم على هذه الفضاءات الممتازة التي تمكننا من التعبير عن أنفسنا بكل حرية وصراحة مداحي العيد من الجزائر العزيزة

Allison McLean | Oct 22nd, 2007
I agree with you. More money should be spent on perserving human life, not destroying it.

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