To the editor:
How can you be sure of your future if you don’t even know if you will be alive? People all over southern Africa have to ask themselves this question almost every day. Whether it’s trying to find somewhere safe to live, food and water, or a hospital, almost everything can be a struggle.
The CDC states that in Africa, health care is extremely damaged due to the loss of health care workers. Fifty-seven countries have a shortage of doctors. Around 2.4 million doctors and nurses are needed in Africa. In Africa, there are only about 600 hospitals in the southern part. Even in the hospitals, they do have, they aren’t sanitary or safe. Funding support would help a huge amount of doctors and hospitals. Most people in the southern part of Africa aren’t the wealthiest members of the world. They have very little to give, including money and valuables. Even if they were lucky enough to get the right kind of treatments and attention to get better, they might not be able to pay for it. The people don’t have money to spend on health care, so sometimes they just choose not to get it. They do not understand how much their disease or injury is impacting their daily life.
Think about our hospitals: only one person in a room; different buildings for surgery or cancer.
A hospital in Africa is almost always overcrowded, and they are lucky if they have more than one doctor and maybe three nurses. In the U.S., we have a different doctor for every part of the body or every illness.
The health care system in Africa is overwhelmed with diseases, such as HIV and AIDS. Over 18,000 people in Africa are waiting to be treated for AIDS. The CDC states, about 4.9% of people ranging from 15 to 49 are dying from AIDS and HIV every year in Africa.
Due to extremely low water rates, people are happy with whatever water they can find. Most of the time the water is muddy and filled with millions of bacteria and germs. The World Health Organization says that contaminated water such as muddy water can lead to tons of diseases, such as Hepatitis A and polio.
The health care system is filled with people waiting to be treated for blood transmitted diseases, so when more people come in to be treated from the contaminated water, the doctors and nurses do not have enough time to help everyone; so they are left untreated to die.
You may ask, “Why should I help?” “It doesn’t impact me?” But put yourself in their shoes. They have no idea that on the other side of the world we can get water whenever we want, get three full meals every day, and have a phone number to call if we need help from a hospital. They might have to walk more than 100 miles, while we can have an ambulance pick us up.
You could help because it’s the right thing to do, but you should also help because what if it was you? What if you had to live somewhere where you don't even know if you are going to be alive the next day? Wouldn’t you want someone to help you?
People say you don’t really understand what someone is going through until you go through the same thing. I understand that what the people in southern Africa have to go through sounds grim ... and that is why you should help. You can help by donating to the American Red Cross, giving blood, and/or volunteering. You can learn about international services, donating and giving blood at redcross.org.