Look At The Numbers
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Health and Wellness

Look At The Numbers

A Response to the 2017 Gates Letter

Look At The Numbers
Bill and Melinda

Every year the philanthropist power couple Bill and Melinda Gates write an open letter on the state of the world and what we can all do as a global community to improve the planet that we all share. They always offer a realistic and optimistic view of what is going on around the world that is quite refreshing given our current status of doom and gloom. You can read the letter here: https://www.gatesnotes.com/2017-Annual-Letter?WT.m...

This year they chose to focus on the numbers, something that the people in Washington might learn from. They write about everything from vaccines, to family planning, to self-help groups.

They begin by saying that since the year 1990, approximately 122 million children’s lives have been saved, as reported by the UN. This is simultaneously miraculous and sad, as this means that there are still so many millions of sick children worldwide. They continue to point out that an average of 86% of the world population has access and uses vaccines. And while this is still not 100%, it is a drastic improvement from 10 years ago and even just last year. And an astonishing 37 cases of polio were reported last year. That is the lowest it has ever been.

Newborn mortality has decreased every year for the past decade. Childhood mortality has also dropped, but the problem that most frequently causes these deaths has not been solved. Malnutrition accounts for 45% of childhood deaths. These are all problems that disproportionately affect those from the lowest income households and the poorest countries.

That is a theme in this letter. The people who need the most attention are the ones who so infrequently receive it from the people who have the most. We have all been so caught up in the dramatics of the American political arena that so many of us have forgotten about what is really important. We have forgotten about the 219 Chibok schoolgirls who were violently taken by the Boko Haram in 2014 who are still missing. We have forgotten about the 795 million malnourished people around the world. We have forgotten about these things because we, as Americans do not experience them first hand.

We need more programs like the ones that help the women in India receive contraceptives, family planning, and psychological and financial support in the form of self-help groups. We need more people who have the fire and passion that Bill and Melinda have to help the world. We need more optimists.

There is so much to look forward to if we put our energy toward the right causes. Even if you aren’t multi-millionaires like Melinda and Bill, there are still so many things you can do to “decrease world suck,” as the Green brothers would say. Humanity is capable of beautiful, astonishing, and powerful things. We just have to focus on the people and things that are really important and together we can make all those numbers I’ve been writing about 0.
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