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08.05.2019 Feature Article

The Threat Of Disease And Hunger Facing African Children

In the midst of poverty and hunger, African children are always happyIn the midst of poverty and hunger, African children are always happy

"Scientists have developed an antiretroviral drug that can restrain its spread, yet, in Africa, where the number of infected is over 25 million people, this drug has not yet become widely available."

All over the world, there is an unprecedented increase in the welfare of mankind. Unlike past times, when welfare was the privilege of only the elect. Now better life in abundance is available to an unprecedented number of ordinary people from different parts of our planet.

Thanks to the process of globalization and development, the standard of living of billions of men and women has increased significantly. Nevertheless, at present these fruits of abundance are not yet available to all.

Millions of people in Africa are forced to eke out a miserable existence in conditions of abject poverty, huddle in miserable shacks in the immediate vicinity of smelly landfills, breathe polluted air, and drink unpurified water.

Children suffer from hunger. Due to persistent malnutrition, many of them have abnormalities in their physical development and many people can neither read nor write.

We live in a world of well-being, where the existence of modern medicines has helped to eradicate most of the diseases or diseases are spread through contaminated medicines. Nevertheless, in Africa, as many as four million children under the age of five die every year.

Two-thirds are diseases which treatment does not require significant resources: for example, malaria, which is the main scourge of the children’s deaths could have been easily avoided if the parents had the opportunity to take their children to the doctor and get medicines that cost no more than one US dollar.

We live in a world of well-being, where scientists have come close to unraveling the human genome and have even learned to clone. Nevertheless, with our connivance in Africa every year, as a result of complications during pregnancy or childbirth, 250,000 women die.

We live in a world of well-being, where, through the Internet, in a blink of an eye, it is possible to exchange information of such a volume that no human brain can accommodate. Nevertheless, in Africa, as many as 40 million children are deprived of the opportunity to receive primary education.

We live in a world of well-being, where, in an attempt to fight AIDS, one of the most deadly diseases of our time, scientists have developed an antiretroviral drug that can restrain its spread, yet, in Africa, where the number of infected is over 25 million people, this drug has not yet become widely available.

This means that every year, two million infected people will die from AIDS in Africa and every third child will remain an orphan.

We live in a world of well-being, wherein prosperous countries, the production of surplus food products is spent equivalent to the income of the entire population of Africa — almost $ 1 billion a day. While in Africa, hunger takes more lives than all infectious diseases combined.

We live in a world of well-being, where two dollars are spent per day for the maintenance of each cow in Europe. It is absurd but true: this is twice the average income of an African. In Japan, the maintenance of one cow costs four dollars.

Such a discrepancy between the quality of life of citizens of prosperous countries and poor people in Africa is a blatant manifestation of injustice. We must not forget that behind the numbers are concrete human lives, the lives of children.

A huge number of children are struggling with death, fighting for life. But the forces are unequal, and every year thousands of children die. Globalization must also imply global justice. No nation of the world can stand aside when other people suffer but many countries watch African children to suffer.

The destructive waves, more than a tsunami which has hit the African continent are hunger and disease and the victims slowly die.

Humanity can continue to divert attention from these disasters, but Africa will stay strong because the bitter experiences continue to shape and modify the lives of the people in the continent, in such a way that they can stand every calamity which Europe and America haven’t got the courage to survive them.

Joel Savage
Joel Savage, © 2019

Joel Savage is a Ghanaian-Belgian journalist and author. The accredited press-card holder of the Flemish Journalists Association once contributed regularly to the features column of the Daily Graphic, The Mirror, Ghanaian Times and the Weekly Spectator. The writer currently lives in Belgium., Author column: JoelSavage

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