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Old 08-06-2005, 04:35 PM   #31
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This came today in my email:

How to End Poverty: Learn From Leading Expert Jeffrey Sachs

A three-part series from World Vision Radio

Jeffrey D. Sachs, world-renowned economist, has a gift for explaining world poverty in clear language and offers practical solutions. Dr. Sachs is the director of The Earth Institute at Columbia University and the UN Millennium Project to end extreme poverty. He wrote the acclaimed book
The End of Poverty.

In September, world leaders will gather at the

World Summit in New York to review progress on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for fighting poverty. He believes MDGs are achievable. He wrote, "The lives of hundreds of millions of people could be dramatically improved and millions could be saved every year, but only if the world takes bold steps in 2005."

> Listen to Part 1
About a billion people around the world live in extreme poverty — barely able to meet their needs for survival. Jeffrey Sachs says this kind of poverty kills thousands of people each day. He explains why geography prevents some countries from getting ahead.

> Listen to Part 2
Thousands die every day from the effects of poverty. Thousands work everyday to counter this devastating problem of our time. Jeffrey Sachs may have finally found a solution. Professor Sachs tells us how his plan to eliminate extreme poverty around the world is being put to the test in several villages in Kenya.

> Listen to Part 3
As advisor to the UN, economist Jeffrey Sachs is on the front line of the efforts to end poverty in Africa. He speaks with World Vision Radio's Peggy Wehmeyer about what Americans can do individually and as a nation to help with foreign aid. Sachs puts the numbers into perspective.


Gotta love Jeff Sachs!

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Old 08-08-2005, 05:17 PM   #32
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A very interesting article about the relief efforts in Niger:

Monday, August 8, 2005

Super peanut butter saving children in Niger
'Plumpy'nut' helps kids quickly pack on pounds


MARADI, Niger -- In the crowd of riotously dressed mothers clasping wailing, naked infants at a Doctors Without Borders feeding center just west of here, Taorey Asama, at 27 months old, stands out for a heart-rending reason: She looks like a normal baby.

Many of the others have the skeletal frames and baggy skin of children with severe malnutrition. The good news is that a month ago, so did Taorey.

"When she came here, she was all small and curled up," said her mother Henda, 30. "It's Plumpy'nut that's made her like this. She's immense!"

Never heard of Plumpy'nut? Come to Maradi, a bustling crossroads where the number of malnourished children exceeds even the flocks of motor scooters flitting down its dirt streets. At this epicenter of Niger's latest hunger crisis, Plumpy'nut is saving lives.

Plumpy'nut, which comes in a silvery foil package the size of two grasping baby-size hands, is 500 calories of fortified peanut butter, a beige paste about as thick as mashed potatoes and stuffed with milk, vitamins and minerals.

Since the packets came into the hands of relief organizations during the Darfur crisis in Sudan, they have been revolutionizing emergency care for severely malnourished children who are old enough to take solid food by taking care out of crowded field hospitals and straight into mothers' homes.

The prescription given mothers here is simple: Give one baby two packets of Plumpy'nut each day. Watch him wolf them down. Wait for him to grow. Which he will, almost immediately: Badly malnourished babies can gain from one to two pounds a week eating Plumpy'nut.

"This product, it's beyond opinion -- it's documented, it's scientific fact. We've seen it working," said Milton Tectonidis, a Paris-based nutrition specialist for Doctors Without Borders.

Plumpy'nut -- the name melds the words "plump" and "peanut" -- costs less than the milk formula and has a two-year shelf life. Its sealed packaging and thick consistency make it a poor home for disease-causing germs that thrive in milk.

The product is the brainchild of a French scientist, Andre Briend, who had labored in vain for years to concoct a ready-to-eat nutrition supplement until serendipity -- a bottle of the popular Nutella breakfast spread on his kitchen table -- led him to try a paste instead of candy bars and other forms of food. Later a French company that specializes in making food supplements for relief work, Nutriset SAS, began packaging the formula under the name Plumpy'nut.

The United Nations reports that 150,000 children under age 5 in Niger are severely malnourished. But Tectonidis said it is not the mathematics, or even the nutrition science that is the chief difficulty in combating malnutrition.

"We know what's needed in terms of malnutrition," he said. "It's just the will that's lacking."


Let it not be our will which is lacking.

Thanks for caring.

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Old 08-12-2005, 03:39 PM   #33
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Can't let this thread get buried.

Not as long as children die.

Thanks for reading and caring.

Dear Supporter,

Here is an excerpt from a recently received field report from Dominic
MacSorley, Concern's Emergency Coordinator and acting Country Director
in Niger…

A week ago, in the village of Barmou, Concern screened 560 children to
determine malnutrition rates. Of the 560 children, 242 were found to be
malnourished. These children were admitted to Concern’s nutrition
program and were given food rations, vitamins and iron. The mothers were
told to return with their children the following week to measure their

By the time that Concern returned to the village the following week,
word had spread around the community about Concern’s program, and this
time, more than 800 mothers had brought their children to the center to
be checked. The numbers were overwhelming.

To read more of Dominic's report, please click on the following link:

Dominic finished his report with an important message:

"Today, 18 million people across this continent are hungry, some
dangerously so. This is what the Live 8 concert in July was all about. This
is why Concern believes that the 189 governments that signed up to the
UN’s Millennium Goals and their aim to cut global poverty in half by
2105 now need to live up to that promise. There are no more excuses."

Thank you again for your continued interest in and support of Concern's
work. We simply couldn't do it without you.

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Old 08-13-2005, 04:14 AM   #34
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Sometimes it's amazing how little it takes, and how less than that we do. You make me think how indifferent I've become. Thank you as always for your posts. It gives me hope to see what can be accomplished. It makes me a tiny bit less cynical.
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Old 08-14-2005, 05:25 AM   #35
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Thanks, BonosSaint.

To make positive changes in ourselves and in our world really aren't as hard as we make them.

It's just whether we'd rather be negative or positive. It's simply our choice.
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Old 08-15-2005, 05:04 AM   #36
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Thanks for the updates Jamila. I have been following your posts in the thread but i thought I'd post here to keep it on page 1. It so easy to forget what is happeneing in other countries when there is so much other stuff on the news.
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Old 08-15-2005, 05:21 PM   #37
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Thanks very much, Tilli, for your words of support and your sincere concern for the future of some of the world's most vunerable children.

Here is the first half of an article about Malaria and Africa's children.

Malaria - the easily preventable disease that takes the lives of 3,000 Africans (mostly children) because they are too poor to afford an $8 insectide-treated bed net to save their lives!

That doesn't just p*ss Bono off - it does me too.


Los Angeles Times,0,55927


An effective, but costly, cure

August 15, 2005

ASK RICHARD IDRO IF HE HAD MALARIA as a child, and you will begin to grasp
the toll this disease takes on sub-Saharan Africa. Patiently, as though
explaining breathing to a visiting Martian, he will answer, "Everybody got

Growing up in northwestern Uganda, Idro and his nine brothers and sisters
had malaria "over and over," especially after the war that toppled strongman
Idi Amin destroyed their home and sent them to a crowded refugee camp. But
Idro's worst brush came when he was just a year old and lapsed into a coma
from cerebral malaria, the most severe form. His mother prayed he would pull

The oft-told story of his survival inspired Idro to become a pediatrician
when he grew up. Today, he is studying to add a doctorate to his medical
degree, specializing in cerebral malaria at the Kenya Medical Research

The story of malaria in the 30 years since Idro's recovery isn't nearly as
uplifting. The mosquito-borne parasite has grown resistant to the drug that
cured him. Malaria's mortality rate is higher today than it has been in

Yet it doesn't have to be this way. Even in tropical Africa, where the
Anopheles mosquitoes that transmit the parasites thrive, everybody doesn't
have to get malaria.

Historically, vaccines have been responsible for reining in some of the
world's worst diseases. In an earlier editorial, we urged the United States
and other wealthy nations to speed progress by committing in advance to a
$4-billion purchasing fund, to be tapped only if an effective vaccine is
developed. This innovative, market-based complement to the "push" of grants
would "pull" more biotech firms and their armies of scientists into the
search by guaranteeing a payoff for success.

But sub-Saharan Africa's dying children can't wait years for a vaccine. Here
too the world's wealthy nations can help, by creating a similar fund to pay
for an exciting but expensive drug compound made from a Chinese herb.

Good herb, bad name

The wormwood plant does not have good PR. When God wants to curse a people
in the Old Testament, he threatens to feed them with wormwood and gall. The
Book of Revelation says that a star called Wormwood will strike the Earth at
Armageddon and poison the waters. So it's a little surprising that a
wormwood species, Artemisia annua, holds a key to curing the deadly, ancient
plague of malaria.

Artemisia's beneficial properties might never have been discovered were it
not for Mao Tse-tung. During the Cultural Revolution, Mao ordered Chinese
scientists to investigate ancient herbal remedies. In the 1970s, an
archeological dig unearthed ancient texts, including recipes for herbal
cures that may be as much as 2,000 years old. One of them identified
artemisia as a cure for fevers; the scientists investigated and discovered
that an agent extracted from the plant, artemisinin, was as effective at
killing malaria parasites as existing drugs such as chloroquine. The
discovery didn't come a moment too soon, because the parasites were becoming
resistant to chloroquine.

The newest malaria miracle cure is best used as a cocktail with other drugs,
called artemisinin combination therapy. But ACT costs more than legions of
Africa's rural poor can afford. And without a market of consumers able to
buy it, farmers outside China have little incentive to start growing the
artemesia plant, while scientists aren't encouraged to invest in finding a
synthetic substitute and manufacturers have no motivation to increase
production of the finished drug.

What is needed is a global purchasing pool, separate from the one proposed
to spur investment in vaccine research. Rather than guaranteeing a future
market for a potential vaccine, the second fund would be tapped now to pay
for an already existing cure.

The Washington-based Institute of Medicine, an independent organization that
advises the U.S. government on health policy, last year proposed just such a
plan. In a report written by a Nobel Prize-winning economist, it called on
international organizations and world leaders to contribute $300 million to
$500 million a year to a centralized procurement agency to buy ACTs at
competitive prices, then resell them at lower prices to public and private
distributors in countries battling malaria.

Instead of today's market price of $2, ACT would cost consumers about 10
cents — the same as the no-longer-effective but still ubiquitous
chloroquine. We'd advocate doubling the pool to $1 billion to spur
production and subsidize the price of insecticide-treated bed nets as well,
delivering a one-two punch against the parasites and the mosquitoes that
transmit them.

Existing aid programs such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis
and Malaria have built-in limits on long-range commitments and can't provide
the certainty required to boost drug or net production and get enough of
these lifesaving tools into the hands of those who so desperately need them.
A well-managed procurement agency could, while freeing other aid programs to
fund the labor-intensive education drives that are key to making sure both
drugs and nets are used properly. Yet the Institute of Medicine plan has
attracted little notice from the world's leaders, who don't seem to
understand the urgency: Even with new tools, the window for rolling back
malaria's mounting toll is alarmingly narrow.

The human cost

At the district hospital in Kilifi, the Kenya Medical Research Institute's
home on the coast, Idro makes the rounds of the intensive-care pediatric
unit. The rains are late this year, and the unit is calm compared with the
height of malaria season, when it admits 10 new cases a day while the
regular ward admits three times that many. Still, infants and toddlers lie
two to a cot, swaddled in the vivid cotton kangas that women along the coast
use as skirts and to strap infants to their backs. Nurses are in such short
supply that mothers stay to tend their children, sleeping on the floor by
the bed at night. Malaria accounts for up to 40% of hospital admissions,
taking its toll in lost days of school and work and lost chances to break
poverty's grip. With cerebral malaria, about one in 10 children who survive
have paralysis, epilepsy, speech impairments, blindness or behavioral
problems that range from inattention to aggression.

"When a child who was playing until yesterday, then got convulsions, and the
next day is dead, it's devastating," Idro said. "And when a child has
cerebral damage, sometimes we don't know how to tell the mothers this child
will not be the same."

Even a new, effective drug won't work miracles for those children, at least
not instantly. Getting the right drugs at the right time and in the right
dosage is hampered by poverty, isolation and a lack of understanding about
what causes malaria.

The best hope of staving off serious complications or death in children
under 5, who have not yet developed any immunity to malaria, is to seek
treatment within the first 24 hours of the onset of fever, chills or other

But parents who live on $1 or less a day and must mete out pennies often
wait to see if a child's fever is passing. Sometimes they will have only
enough money to buy a single pill when multiple doses are needed, which
hastens the parasite's development of resistance by weakening but not
killing it. The convulsions of cerebral malaria are still seen in some
quarters as a sign the child has been bewitched, and parents will turn to a
local healer.
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Old 08-18-2005, 05:45 PM   #38
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An update on the crisis in Niger:

In Niger, aid workers struggle to reach the neediest children

Tue Aug 16,11:16 AM ET

ZINDER, Niger (AFP) - Hundreds of women with babies on their backs jostled and shouted for food at the white door with the red cross in the Niger city of Zinder, where humanitarian workers are struggling to reach the neediest children in the country's food crisis.

"They told me I could find some food," said Rabia, holding her 14th child, Shariba, as stood outside the entrance to the French Red Cross center in eastern Niger city.

But Shariba, with her chubby cheeks and wide, clear eyes, looks very different to the emaciated children that the Red Cross is looking for to bring them emergency aid.

In a country where food is increasingly scarce, Niger's mothers descend on any place they hear of where they might get some supplies, but sometimes aid officials have to make difficult choices, turning away the less hungry in order to be able to save those whose condition is really desperate.

"Everyone is waiting for aid, for food, for our children and out families. Do you think we walked for six hours this morning for pleasure?" said Hama, another woman, who was refused aid.

But the Red Cross is set up to provide services for children suffering from severe malnutrition.

"We have to remind people that we are not set up to distribute food supplies but rather to manage an intensive program for malnourished children," said Antoinette Awaga, a physician and project coordinator for the French Red Cross in Zinder.

Organizations such as CARE and the World Food Programme are the ones best fitted to give out food rations.

"This distinction is difficult to make. The women who are turned away threaten to beat up the nurses," Awaga said.

Red Cross worker Karine said the center in Zinder treated 300 children on Saturday and that about 40 of them in fact did not need to be there.

Local people working with the Red Cross sometimes find themselves confronting family members and neighbors.

"I have to say 'no' to people I know, from my family and my neighborhood," said a local worker recruited a week ago to control the stocks of grain sacks, and who requested anonymity.

"Everyone comes to see me, to ask for a sack or two. I am in a very, very delicate position," he said.

To treat the thousands of children suffering from malnutrition, strict criteria has to be applied to determine the degree of malnutrition and whether the children may need to be admitted to nutrition centers.

Health charities such as Medecins Sans Frontieres ( Doctors Without Borders) use the child's height-to-weight ratio to determine the extent of malnutrition.

"The height-to-weight table of the World Health Organization is the gold standard, the international reference for all work in the area of nutrition," said Aymeric Peguillan, an MSF spokesman in Zinder.

Still, many children who are not technically malnourished suffer from other illnesses.

"Often, a child just at the limit of qualifying (for nutrition programs) is sick with malaria, tuberculosis, or terrible diarrhea. How can you refuse them? It would be inhuman," said Michael Hall, a doctor with MSF.
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Old 08-18-2005, 05:48 PM   #39
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From the ONE Campaign website blog:

Fight famine in Niger, and plant a better future

posted Thursday, August 18, 2005 10:10 AM by Meighan

Whether helping rebuild after the tsunami or working in our own communities, Americans have shown again and again we are a compassionate country. Many of us have been following the tragic events unfolding in Niger, a West African nation now facing a famine affecting close to 4 million people.

That’s a big number—about the same number of people as live in a state like Kentucky, and even more people than live in Iowa or New Hampshire. And any American farmer can tell you that when a community is forced to eat the seed they should be saving to plant for next year’s harvest, the situation is very serious—and maybe even hard for us to see or really understand.

Right now, you can find out more about what’s happening in Niger and decide how you want to get involved, by talking to your friends and family or even choosing to do more. These ONE partners are working to help the people of Niger, you can visit their web sites to learn more:

Action Against Hunger


American Jewish World Service


Christian Reformed World Relief Committee

Concern Worldwide

Episcopal Relief and Development

Food for the Hungry

International Medical Corps

International Orthodox Christian Charities

Mercy Corps


Operation Blessing

Oxfam America


Save the Children


US Doctors for Africa

World Relief

World Vision

Please do whatever you can to support one or more of these organizations and their humanitarian work in Niger.

Blessings not just for those who kneel.
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Old 08-18-2005, 06:15 PM   #40
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Thanks for the update. This is so sad. So much wrong and not enough right....why can't it be the other way around?

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Old 08-19-2005, 03:48 AM   #41
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Like Bono's (and so many others) example shows, it's UP TO US to make the world so much right.

Thanks so much for your input.

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