Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Leprosy, Aid and Jeffery Sachs

A couple of articles caught my eye the other day. One said that India has now succesfully 'eliminated' Leprosy. Eliminated, mind you, not eradicated. Eradication will take another 20-25 years. Elimination means that we now have less than 1 case for every 10000 people. Which still leaves more than a lakh people in our country afflicted with this terrible condition. I guess when the press release said that eradication will take 20-25 years, it meant that by then most of these people will be dead. Because, if I am not wrong, it is not something which can be cured, if in an advanced stage. Please correct me if I am wrong.

The closest I came to see leprosy was in my sales training stint with my first company in Chennai, more than 3 years ago. I had gone on one of my rural 'beats' along with the salesman.

"Sir, will you go there, there's a leper colony there."

"Of course", I said and so we went.

I think they used the coconut oil for massage purposes, and hence the commercial interests. I had thought about it for a day or so then and forgot all about it.

Till now. Strange thing, this memory.

The second article, which I noticed, was about Europe threatening to stop aid to Palestine unless the new Hamas government falls in line with their demands.

And the reason that I now notice such articles is because I just finished reading "The End of Poverty" by Jeffery Sachs. He doesnt talk of leprosy, but does talk of the problems faced by African nations due to Malaria and Aids. He doesnt talk of Hamas, but does talk of the importance of Aid which needs to be given by the rich countries, especially the US to remove extreme poverty from the face of the earth (Extreme poverty is a situation when a person earns less than a dollar a day). The book is comprehensive in its coverage and Sachs makes an almost convincing argument.

Thank you for making me think, Jeffery Sachs!

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