EXTREME POVERTY KILLS 25,000 CHILDREN EACH DAY. MANY OF THESE DEATHS ARE FROM A LACK OF MEDICAL CARE.
* You wake up in the middle of the night and your child is coughing violently. She is sweating and burning up with fever. She drifts into incoherence and then suddenly begins to shriek in pain. You immediately bundle her up and rush to the emergency room.
* Your son is outside playing when he is involved in a terrible accident which leaves him severely injured and bleeding profusely. You frantically call 911 and anxiously wait for the medical care that will save his life.
* Your wife is delivering your first baby when something goes horribly wrong. Fortunately, the hospital’s highly trained medical staff immediately takes the appropriate actions, using the latest sophisticated tools and technology, that enables them to save both mother and child.
But what if you lived in a world where there were no emergency rooms, no doctors, and no medicine? What would you do if your sick or injured child’s life was hanging in the balance? Where would you turn? Life and death situations happen thousands of times every day to families trapped in extreme poverty. Think of the horror of watching your child’s life slip away, and you know there is nothing you can do to save them. The heartache and frustration would be overwhelming. For those struggling in extreme poverty this is the brutal reality of their lives.
The average American’s medicine cabinet contains more medications than millions of people around the world have access to. Prescriptions that you and I take for granted everyday could save millions of lives but, unfortunately, too many children in poverty have no way to receive these life saving drugs, nor do they have access to common vaccines that could prevent untold suffering and death. Because the incidence of illness and disease increases dramatically when a person is weakened by hunger, it can be extremely difficult for a starving child to survive even the most common childhood maladies. Malnutrition makes them dramatically more susceptible to a wide variety of life threatening ailments.
Access to medical care should be a basic human right so that life saving treatment is available to everyone, not just to those enjoying lives of comfort and privilege. A five-year old child has no say in what her family’s income happens to be. She had no control over where she was born. She did not choose the color of her skin. She has done nothing to deserve to have life saving medicine withheld from her, and yet it is withheld every day. Innocent children die because we do not allow them access to the medications that can save their lives.
We are all responsible for the lives of children everywhere. They are totally dependent on others, but each day we make the decision, through our indifference and our lack of compassion, to deprive them of the medications that can save their lives. Do we think that just because people are trapped in poverty that they don’t love their children as much as we love ours? Do they not feel the same agony we experience when we suffer the traumatic loss of a loved one? Do they not cry tears of heartbreaking sorrow as they dig the grave for their deceased child?
25,000 dead children each day is more than just a statistic. It represents the anguish felt by all of those who loved each one of those sons and daughters. The profound sorrow caused by death is the rawest emotion a human being can experience, but when death comes unnecessarily to a helpless innocent child it is even more horrific. To know that these children could have been saved if we had only made an effort makes their deaths our responsibility. Those of us in wealthy nations are in a position to provide the medical care that can save these young lives, but we don’t. They continue to die, and we continue to pretend that it’s not happening.
A child is the most precious thing in the world. Their lives should be protected at all costs and above all other considerations. How can we stand by and let them needlessly die? How can we withhold vaccines and antibiotics? How can we go about our daily lives knowing that thousands of children are dying without the medications we take for granted? There are many terrible things that can happen to a person in this life, but losing a child is absolutely the worst. No other pain comes close. A child is the embodiment of love and innocence. A child represents the future. When your child dies a part of you dies too.
THERE IS NO GREATER TORMENT THAN WATCHING YOUR CHILD DIE. IT IS THE WORST PAIN OF ALL.