“The treasures hidden deep in the jungles of Sierra Leone are powerful. Potions cooked up from bits of bark in bubbling vats genuinely have healing properties. But they can also kill, and this is why medical charities are going into battle with the witch doctors of the west African country. Take malaria, which kills more than a million people every year – more than 90 per cent of them in Africa. Today, World Malaria Day, nearly 3,000 children will die. On average, the impact of the illness slows economic growth rates by more than a percentage point: another thing that Sierra Leone, the world’s least-developed country, could do without.”
The problem is that malaria medications can be expensive and sometimes useless (because of drug resistance) and that health clinics in Africa are few and far between. So what do you do when you or your children get it? My new age colleagues (as in “people used to be able to cure everything with natural remedies before the pharmaceutical industry ruined everything” kind of people) notwithstanding, these herbal bush remedies can be deadly.
“MSF is training villagers to give speedy, free malaria tests and treatment in 200 villages across the south of the country. Even in the hot, hilly capital Freetown, there are painted sheets stretched across roadsides depicting a range of illnesses that native doctors can “treat”– from malaria to being attacked by a winged gremlin. Their pharmacies include potions, leaves, bits of bark and tree. “We have so many of these quacks and they don’t know the job properly,” said one villager volunteering with the MSF scheme.”
How about everybody coughs up some money for bed nets to poor people? That would be a good idea. It is cheap and it eliminates 90% of cases of malaria when used properly.
Ok, we’re done with quacks, now, let me get to the deadly stupidity of parents, this time, via the BBC,
“A new vaccine for girls to prevent cervical cancer was rejected by 20% of parents during a trial, a study says. The jab, being rolled out in the UK this year, has proved controversial as it works by making girls immune to a sexually transmitted infection. Most parents did not give reasons for refusing, although a tiny number cited fears about promoting sexual behaviour. The Manchester University researchers said increased publicity about the benefits would allay fears.”
And here I thought that kind of stupidity was limited to religious nuts and conservatives here. At least we were spared the anti-vaccination argument, that’s something. When hundreds of lives could be saved every year, there is no discussion. Vaccination should be mandatory, no discussion, no exceptions.