The idea that I could save a baby for $1 has me in an emotional frenzy. I am weak, stressed and cannot sleep. I have accidentally heard some anedotical statistics that make me quiver.
One in 10 babies who has malaria in the CHR Chinois Hospital dies. The cost of the laboratory test is 500 CFA, or only $1 U.S.
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I am in Kara, Togo, West Africa, a country next to Ghana and Benin, and a step away from Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Ivory Coast and that country that starts with N, that one sends you emails daily.
Sharing My Father's Brain Is the Problem Today
My mother likes to take my father shopping. She sometimes doesn't know when she is paying the correct amount of money or whether the advertised discount is really a discount, not some rich man's way of making us poor people pay more wrapped up in some arithmetic that baffles the brain.
But I have my father's brain. He can multiply a five-digit number by a five-digital number in his head. We both can see the probability of success as a mathematical probability. Those marketing boys at Walmart don’t hook us and crook us. We can decipher a McDonald's menu board, and the price of gas is painful for us because we truly understand how price changes affect all of us.
There Is Malaria in Kara, Togo, West Africa
Today is May 2, 2013, and I need to say that because probabilities are generally time sensitive, as of today, I believe the cost of saving a baby's life is somewhere between $1 and $10.
$1-10 to Buy the Life of a Baby Back From the Grim Reaper
If that doesn't make you cry, nothing will. What I spend for breakfast might stop one baby from dying. Please, take this seriously. The value of one life is not a simple calculation put on a blackboard and presented to a committee. We can make this personal, ours to claim.
Accidental Statical Numbers Crossing the Path
The owner of the Auberge Beau Sejour works in the laboratory of the CHR Chinois Hospital, here in Kara, Togo. My French is about a 7 on scale of 10 for fluency, which means I misunderstand about 30-50 percent of what people say to me. But I have visited the CHR laboratory two times, and today it will be the third time. I have asked the question in multiple ways, trying to corroborate, confirm and calculate numbers told to me.
Anecdotal Numbers to Scientific Numbers
I am going to the CHR Chinois Hospital today to find hard data, numbers on a sheet of paper, to confirm these statistics.
What Does This Mean to Us Here in Africa? In simple terms, giving $1-10 to anyone and everyone here in Africa for Malaria testing is difficult. However, if the mother of Clementine, here in Kara, Togo, said to me, “Andy, we think Clementine has Malaria, but we do not have money for the laboratory test,” I would reach for my wallet and give her that money, without a pause, no need to think. It is a no-brainer to me. Yes, it could be a con, but this is the slot machine of life we are playing, and it should make us all think too much.
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This all is confusing, I admit, today Bridget a very tall 11 year old girl who is Angels niece is sick, or her head hurts. Now, this is confusing, there is a tendency to blame all problems on Malaria. And, Bridget has had a splitting headache all day, it is now 2:11 PM, and she is the same as she was this morning. Her father took off for Nigeria, whatever that means, and Bridgets mothers is working in Kpalime, so she is with her aunt Angel.
A twist here, is in a way, we could assume she has Malaria, and test for one dollar, but who really knows what is wrong with her? And, she is 11, and someone need to go with here to the lab, but analysis for what?
Strange as it seems, I too woke up with a splitting headache, and took a sinus pill, and it was gone in an hour. I decided, the sinus pill was worth a try, so I gave her one.
If she is not better in the morning, I will take her to the lab for Malaria test. I think the Doctor is free, or close to free, but every day.
Kind of like a big family here at the Hotel, and Bridget cooks my string beans, which means she has to clean the, cut them, etc, they are fresh ones. And, she does other odd jobs, she is like the girl hanging around the hotel who want to eat the crackers I buy. She is fun, but sweating, hot and lethargic. If she had Malaria, I believe she would be lying down all day, not in a chair.
I had Malaria in Lome, Togo and it is like you are glued to the bed, and cannot move anything, a wet rag.
Generally, easy to find, easy to use testing is needed. The Chinese Hospital is 200 CFA away, and people go to these Market Pharmacy basin, to buy medicine, sort of like China cheap knockoffs.
Note, what is good, if a person knows for sure, they have malaria, they normally find the money for the cure, or half the cure, which is another problem. These alternative health medicine here are killers, snake oil solutions are all about.
I forgot to say, the rains have been moving in, and the barometric pressure changes cause me to have sinus headaches.
Where are all the NGO s, Non Profits and Missions, here in El Salvador in Central America, dozens of Non Profits and Missions come and give Medical and Dental Treatment to the indigent, I volunteered to translate at one Mission for 2 days, some pretty well off, for the neighborhood, persons showed up, including several attractive young women for treatment of general ailments and Dental work, the price was Evangelization on the way out, people here are used to it, when I homeless in the 1970s in USA I sat through many a Sermon for a hot meal and bed, did me little good! Well the Missionaries go home after a week get into the local newspapers and become local heroes, would they go to Togo and stay and fight Malaria for a month or two or do the Togo NGOs feel powerless to raise enough money to give $10 per child a chance at recovery. I went to www.idealist.org Togo pages seems the NGOs are recructing aid workers in Universities a search came up with 0 for malaria care and prevention in Togo, you should put your own non profit right up on idealist.org care.com truetravellers.org and invite travellers to stop and help for a few days a week, take the families to the hospital and pay there for tests in front of everyone with donations for those who wish care. Bonne chance, I had dengue fever twice and when I got those chills thought I would die!!!!
The tourist in Central America, South America, or even Southeast Asia are oversight of NGOs, ONGs. However there few if any tourists, and backpackers are truly scarce, in general the tourists are the NGOs out on walkabout. Generally giving help is so confusing, it is baffling, and generally we turn nice folks into beggars, free money is a curse in so many ways. Welfare makes welfare babies, but again, when I need to put up a few dollars, I put up a few dollars.
In my opinion, NGOs need to say, We are running an experiment, and stop coming across as they know the answers. An experiment is ran with the idea of failure, and success, while NGOs often portray every project as a success, as if they do better than business, and 60 percent of businesses fail within first couple of years.
A successful NGO is often a success at donations, but on the ground just a boondoggle.
I am not sure money is needed, what is needed is clever minds attacking some of the problems. If you click on Home above, you can see list of problems for Malaria.
Thanks, one clever solution is worth a million dollars, and normally cost close to nothing to implement.
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