The Things You Learn in the News

Saw a headline this morning that temporarily confused me:  "Gates Foundation, Rotary pledge $200 million to fight polio"

I guess I’m a little TOO American but I didn’t realize polio was still much of a problem.  Apparently in a few countries of the world it is.  The good news is that there is an effective immunization — that’s what wiped out polio in the U.S. 30 years ago.  There hasn’t been a new case of polio reported here since 1979.

But in India, Pakistan, Nigeria and Afghanistan polio is apparently still an issue.

I have to admit, though, and I don’t mean to downplay the seriousness of polio, but I wonder if this is really the best use of the money.  The World Health Organization says that fewer than 2,000 cases were reported world wide last year.  Considering all of the OTHER health issues facing the human race (cancer, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, malaria, etc) which affects far more people I wonder if the $200 million might have been more effectively applied to a disease that affects a wider swath of people.

Or, as I posed earlier, how about another $200 million towards the effort to build literacy and expand education throughout the world?


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