International Herald Tribune
Friday, March 4, 2005
I hail your editorial “Thousands died in Africa yesterday” (Feb. 28) and remind readers everywhere that every day constitutes a yesterday. In this spirit, let me build on the points made in the editorial by addressing malaria, which is the most common and deadly parasitic disease on earth.
Combating a terrible disease requires more than political will or corporate funding. It demands a sense of urgency and creativity.
Our innocent and wise are falling at the whim of mosquitoes. Mosquitoes – not terrorists, not opposition parties, not ideologies – are wiping away the hope for our future and the wisdom of our past. To an unprotected African child, terror is not the buzzing of bombs or missiles, but rather the sound of an Anopheles mosquito seeking a meal.
Many of us forget that malaria is the No. 1 killer of our children, taking substantially more lives than any other disease, including AIDS. A child dies every 30 seconds from this silent killer. Yet malaria is a disease that can be prevented with inexpensive, insecticide-treated mosquito nets and effective antimalarial medications that already exist.
As a proactive measure to help build public awareness of malaria, I have sponsored an upcoming two-day music festival called “Africa Live: The Roll Back Malaria Concert,” directed by one of Africa’s greatest musical talents and committed humanitarians, Youssou N’Dour.
Our creativity in using music and culture will inform people everywhere about preventing and controlling malaria, as our creative use of science will further the deployment of effective, safe and affordable antimalarial medications and long-lasting insecticide-treated mosquito nets.
Abdoulaye Wade, Dakar, Senegal The writer is the president of Senegal.
In “Thousands died in Africa yesterday” the urgent request is for President George W. Bush and Congress to “step up to the plate” and come to the assistance of the thousands upon thousands of people who are dying from preventable causes in Africa. The problem is that there doesn’t seem to be enough caring and concern for American citizens who fall below the poverty line and are dying from preventable causes.
As noted on your pages in January, 41 countries have lower infant mortality rates than the United States, while millions of Americans are without health insurance. Funding for programs to help poverty-stricken children and families are being cut.
Sadly, America is more concerned about sports and entertainment than the real issues that face its citizens. With that kind of attitude, it is hard to imagine there is much desire to provide for those living in Africa or elsewhere.
Spend money to invade their countries, yes. But to provide humanitarian relief on a regular basis, no.
Richard Stern, Geneva
Taking up Africa’s tragedies on the editorial page does not have the greatest possible impact on the public. In order to inform the public of the extent of the Africa’s suffering, the news needs to be on the front page, with large color photographs, regularly.
Luisa Josa, Bremen, Germany