A second thought I have had on this subject after some reflection. The photojournalist may have succeeded in helping this child - but one thing or
another would have made this intention futile. Local government interference, a crushingly overwhelmed medical staff which likely was quite distant,
and lack of resources. As a medic, I've practiced triage - some must die so that others who are more likely to live can be treated.
Given those circumstances, perhaps the photog made the best choice he could. Waiting for the most dramatic and controversial picture he could find
could - a certainly did - provoke a visceral reponse of shock, sorrow, anguish, and outrage. If you can't save one, try to make the death count for
Ladies and Gentlemen, we must remember that there are hundreds if not thousands of deaths for these and similiar reasons throughout the undeveloped
world - some of you are going to HATE me for using the WHO as a reference, but here are 2004 estimated numbers ....
Another source - again UNICEF (not many organizations bother to track this suffering, more's the pity)
"Child mortality rates vary considerably among regions and countries, but the most disturbing findings are those countries whose annual rate of
progress has been negative; in other words, they are heading in reverse, with rising child mortality rates. In several countries in sub-Saharan Africa
and the Commonwealth of Independent States, children are less likely to make it to their fifth birthdays than they were in 1990."
Inadequate birthing conditions — meaning little or no health care for mothers, and the lack of skilled attendants during deliveries — cause the
largest proportion of preventable deaths. Infectious and parasitic diseases, such as measles and malaria are the next biggest killers.
Malnutrition, unsafe water and poor sanitation are contributing factors behind more than half of all child deaths. Acute respiratory infections and
diarrhea are at the root of roughly one-third of child deaths.
"The world has the tools to improve child survival, if only it would use them," Bellamy said. "Vaccines, micronutrient supplements and
insecticide-treated mosquito nets don't cost much, and would save millions of children. But not enough children are being reached with these basic
life-savers. That's what has to change. No government should be allowed to let another ten years pass with so little progress for children. Leaders
have agreed to goals and they must be held accountable." "
He very well might have been shooting for a Pulitzer. I pray that he was trying to make that child's suffering a clarion call for action. If that was
the case, than - to the shame of us all - we are still ignoring the cry of the hungery and the suffering.
A final consideration; we don't even have to look across the globe to find suffering. In many of our hometowns, the homeless and hungry quietly lurk
in the shadows. I ask all who read this to clean out their closets for old winter clothing and donate it to a church or civic group. When you go
shopping, buy a few extra items of basic non-perishable foods (canned food, rice, etc) and drop it off at a food pantry or shelter. If we all gave a
little, this would make a huge dent in this crisis.
Thanks for reading this latest epistle.