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WHO scum - politics over lives

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WHO scum - politics over lives

Postby JorgeLobo » Sat May 23, 2009 6:47 pm

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124303288779048569.html

In 2006, after 25 years and 50 million preventable deaths, the World Health Organization reversed course and endorsed widespread use of the insecticide DDT to combat malaria. So much for that. Earlier this month, the U.N. agency quietly reverted to promoting less effective methods for attacking the disease. The result is a victory for politics over public health, and millions of the world's poor will suffer as a result.
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Postby AstusAleator » Sun Jun 07, 2009 9:46 pm

The point is that we should be able to accomplish a very similar end through different management practices, and in the process avoid overuse of a persistent harmful chemical. DDT is the "easy" way out - but there are consequences for its use. Education programs as well as the distribution of items such as mosquito netting will help local populations take control over their own fates, rather than be dependent on global aid (and making chemical companies rich in the process).
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Re:

Postby MichaelXY » Wed Jun 10, 2009 8:27 am

AstusAleator wrote:The point is that we should be able to accomplish a very similar end through different management practices, and in the process avoid overuse of a persistent harmful chemical. DDT is the "easy" way out - but there are consequences for its use. Education programs as well as the distribution of items such as mosquito netting will help local populations take control over their own fates, rather than be dependent on global aid (and making chemical companies rich in the process).


Exactly what are the consequences of using DDT? I have searched and found questionable info on it. Should we continue to allow millions to die based on outdated information?

By the time you finish reading this post, someone has perished from malaria. Millions are dying and something must be done.

As far as I can see, saving thousands of human lives trumps any ill affects that DDT may bring. Netting sounds like a nice and cozy solution, but the fact of the matter is that Africa and other nations are too poor to offer this protection, and this would only offer protection during times of sleep, what about day time, I have been bitten in the daytime. These people can't hide behind a net forever and it not a good answer.

It seems to me that DDT can save thousands of lives, and while it is used, a better solution can be found and I question the justification not to use it as compared to what is lost if it is not used.

Did you read all that? Someone else just died from malaria.
A child dies of malaria every 30 seconds. (WHO)

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs094/en/
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Postby AstusAleator » Wed Jun 10, 2009 6:27 pm

MichaelXY wrote:It seems to me that DDT can save thousands of lives, and while it is used, a better solution can be found and I question the justification not to use it as compared to what is lost if it is not used.


They didn't just suddenly stop using it, they're trying to phase it out. The hotspots like Africa are still getting just as much DDT as ever.

I don't disagree that it's important to save lives. I also think that there may be a reasonably safe level at which DDT can be used, such as the indoor spraying two or three times a year.

However, I think the WHO is justified in attempting to wean these areas off of their complete dependency on foreign aid; moreso when the aid is in the form of an ecologically harmful chemical such as DDT. Spraying DDT will be replaced with community oriented programs which will empower locals to take an active role in the fight against malaria, rather than sitting helplessly on the sidelines.

Furthermore, while the goal of the WHO is clearly to phase out DDT use; I think that if they feel that significanly more lives are being lost under the new program, they will likely revert back to the use of DDT.

Finally, the entire socioeconomic climate of these malaria-stricken areas is in dire need of change. There are so many factors that are contributing to the overall squalor. Programs such as WHO eliminating vectors and other organizations handing out food are noble, but they are only a bandaid on a severely infected wound. They are short-term aid while, hopefully, actions are being taken to improve education, government, economy, healthcare. Educating people and putting the power of self-determination back into their hands is one small (but important) step towards achieving the larger goal.

It may be our moral obligation to save the lives we can right now, but we should also think to the future.

http://www.who.int/ipcs/capacity_buildi ... tement/en/
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Re: WHO scum - politics over lives

Postby MichaelXY » Fri Jun 12, 2009 8:49 am

You make good points, however, I do not think we are in agreement that Africa has DDT in abundance. From what I have read, DDT is in low suppply in Africa due to world restrictions. The only nation I know of that still has large amounts of DDT is India.

Finally, the entire socioeconomic climate of these malaria-stricken areas is in dire need of change.


This is a nice notion, but the fact is that these nations are in dire need of outside help as the African governments are impotent and weak. The funds needed to run the countries in these nations of Africa are scattered amongst a few and are not shared by many. Greed, curruption, and lack of concern for human life has dominated the thinking of the elite on this continent.

I served in the Navy and have been to many impoverished countries, but I will never forget my time in Kenya Africa. I still have bad dreams as I remember the pain and suffering I saw.

It is easy to post your environmentalist flag in the air and preach, but until you see the truly deprived, the despair and sadness of the have nots, you should reserve your proclamations.

I have seen the ugliness that the world can deliver, and there comes a time when the haves must open their predisposed thinking and wallets and lend a helping hand to those that are weak, beaten and weary. So many in Africa are beaten, tired and weary. They have no fight left to give, we must do it for them.
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Postby alextemplet » Sat Jun 13, 2009 4:39 am

Noble words, Michael, and I agree with what you have said. I would like to add that the biggest problem most African nations face is their own governments, which are mostly cleptocracies that take everything they can from the already impoverished people. It's so sad that the some of the richest (African dictators) and poorest (all other Africans) people in the world live in the exact same place. Africa will never change unless its governments change first, and start doing their jobs.
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Postby AstusAleator » Sat Jun 13, 2009 8:32 am

@MXY
Well how can I argue with that...? Ever consider a job in nonprofit fund-raising? :D

But seriously, I never said we should stop helping... I just think that if it's possible for us to address the larger issues - while continuing to provide immediate aid - that should be our goal. If all of our resources are used up in dumping food, medical supplies, DDT, water, etc into these countries without really making a difference in government and education... then we're just propping up a perpetual cycle of devastation poverty and overpopulation. The same things you saw years ago, you'll see years from now - if changes aren't made.

MichaelXY wrote:It is easy to post your environmentalist flag in the air and preach, but until you see the truly deprived, the despair and sadness of the have nots, you should reserve your proclamations.

Hopefully that was directed at enviros in general, not me specifically? While I've definitely made some environmentalist arguments in this forum, I don't think I've "posted any flags" in this particular discussion, merely defended a point of view.

@alex
You're right, and what's even more sick is that certain 1st and 2nd world countries maintain programs/policies/trade agreements etc that ensure the continuance of these trends so that they can take advantage of them. Impoverished and corrupt nations are easy to take advantage of, and will sell their resources cheaply - usually at a great cost to their citizens.
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Re: WHO scum - politics over lives

Postby MichaelXY » Wed Jun 17, 2009 6:31 am

Hopefully that was directed at enviros in general, not me specifically? While I've definitely made some environmentalist arguments in this forum, I don't think I've "posted any flags" in this particular discussion, merely defended a point of view.


No that was not directed at you. I was just blowing air :) I think your a good guy Astus and would not ever mean to offend you.

BTW, about that fund raiser comment... Thanks, do you know anyone hiring? I could use the work :D
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Re:

Postby MichaelXY » Wed Jun 17, 2009 6:58 am

alextemplet wrote:Noble words, Michael, and I agree with what you have said. I would like to add that the biggest problem most African nations face is their own governments, which are mostly cleptocracies that take everything they can from the already impoverished people. It's so sad that the some of the richest (African dictators) and poorest (all other Africans) people in the world live in the exact same place. Africa will never change unless its governments change first, and start doing their jobs.


It is sad Alex, Africa has vast amounts of geological resources, perhaps more than most other parts of the world, yet the most impoverished continent is Africa. How can this be so? I often think about this and in doing so, I rarely find answers.

Human rights in this region are violated daily, death and hunger are the Africans bedtime companion. They only know fear, hunger, and poverty. How can this be for a nation that produces the largest amount of diamonds in the world?

I have pondered this question at great lengths. Surely the country that I live in and hold so dear could not be responsible, the might English empire would not be involved with such human suffering, but I find myself running out of blame. This leaves me with the question of how this neglect of a peoples can continue. Why are not the nations of influence speaking out, and standing up against such human rights abuse?

I come to the sad conclusion that other more wealthy nations are exploiting this continent, such as the great USA. They are being stripped of their geologic riches and dignity with wages not fitting for a child on a paper route.

Slavery and human rights violations have not been abolished, they have only been hidden from the rest of the world. Rarely do we see what truly goes on in a forgotten continent, and until we do, I suspect these violations of a desperate people will continue.

The cure to this problem is public awareness, as the public outcry of such behavior may bring a long needed change. Sadly my voice barely goes past a simple Myspace blog and I have no influence.

Sorry for the rant.
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Postby alextemplet » Wed Jun 17, 2009 11:23 pm

Rant away, mon ami. If you want my theory, the former European colonial empires are responsible. They raped Africa for all it was worth, and when they finally pulled out, they didn't bother to put forth the effort to make sure stable, effective governments would replace them. As a result, strong-men, warlords, and dictators had free reign, and still do. Why doesn't the rest of the world do something about this? In my opinion, it's because nobody cares about Africa because Africans aren't blowing up airplanes or suicide-bombing major cities. It's sad but true; how many Americans do you think gave two craps about Afghanistan before bin Laden attacked us? Now, because they attacked us, we're busy trying to rebuild their nation so they don't do it again. There's a book called The White Flag Principle (I forget the author) that claims that the best way for a struggling, impoverished state to develop itself is to start a war with the US so we'll go take over and rebuild the whole country. Rather cynical point of view, I admit, but it has some truth to it.
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Postby AstusAleator » Thu Jun 18, 2009 12:43 am

Yeah - rebuilding countries... When has that actually worked, besides Japan? Things aren't looking so good in Iraq or Afganistan right now...
Sure we dump lots of money into them, but to make the sorts of changes that are really needed, maybe it requires more of a totalitarian approach that we, as an enlightened democracy, just can't take.
I dunno, I'm just riffing here, but without actually taking drastic steps to alter certain cultural mores, a "successful" government is a doubtful prospect in those areas.
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Postby alextemplet » Thu Jun 18, 2009 9:18 pm

I think most people in Iraq and Afghanistan really do want improvement, and the same probably goes for Israel and Palestine, now that I think about it. It's just the "lunatic fringe" that keeps making it hard on everyone else by blowing stuff up. It's really hard to fight people who hide so effectively among civilians, when the only way to tell who's a terrorist and who's not is when the terrorist blows himself up.

Probably the reason Japan came around so well was because they got nuked. That sort of firepower might've convinced even the most hard-line lunatics to calm down a bit. I'm reminded of a geography professor at my university, who once said, "The only way to have peace in the Middle East is with a thermonuclear device." He's probably, right, too, and speaking more generally, the only way warfare and genocide is ever going to stop completely is when humanity finally goes extinct.

Getting back to Africa, I'd be willing to bet most Africans would really love to see some real improvement in their nations. The problem is how to do it. Do we try to do it peacefully, and try to prevent violence, as if the bad guys are just going to say, "Okay, we're done being crooks; everyone can have free elections now." Or do we arm the oppressed and let them take their futures into their own hands? I'm no fan of violence, but I can see the second option working much more effectively than the first. The problem is making sure you arm the right people, and not wind up creating just another batch of terrorists.
Generally speaking, the more people talk about "being saved," the further away they actually are from true salvation.

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