I wonder while I wander

…musings about this wild and wonderful world

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Things we take for granted

Having grown up in the 20th Century, in a rich, developed country, Tuberculosis (TB) is not something I ever even thought to worry about. I was vaccinated against this disease as a baby, and never really heard anything about it, except when reading classic novels by Dickens or the like, which were written in a time when people still died of ‘consumption’ in Western countries.

TB vaccines are still standard issue for babies in developed countries, as far as I know. Again, it’s just something most babies are vaccinated against and then the rest of us in the rich world have the luxury of forgetting this illness even exists.

However, in other parts of the world, TB is still a deadly killer, responsible for 1.5 million yearly deaths worldwide. It ranks right behind HIV in terms deadly infectious illnesses.

According to this article from the Guardian, since TB was eradicated in rich countries around the middle of the 20th Century, people stopped caring about this disease or the treatment of it. In that time, new treatment-resistant strains of TB have evolved and these new strains now pose an extremely deadly threat. Not only that, but the current treatments for TB take about two years, are seriously painful and some can cause deafness or psychotic episodes… all with no guarantee of curing the illness.

I found this article quite shocking and it is so tragic that a disease eradicated in rich Western countries still kills so many people worldwide, and since those people are poor and living in developed countries, their plight is largely overlooked.

The things we take for granted, indeed.

Read the whole article here:

Tuberculosis is an old disease with a new face – and it needs to be stopped | THE GUARDIAN

 When rich countries eradicated TB, new treatments dried up. Now the disease has evolved to become drug-resistant – and it’s the world’s poorest people who are bearing the brunt

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Things we take for granted

In developed countries, we completely take for granted the fact that we have cheap and easy access to clean drinking water.

According to Water.org:

  •  3.4 million people die each year from water related diseases.
  • A child dies from water related illness every 21 seconds!

It’s hard to believe that something so essential for a healthy life, something we have at our fingertips with just a quick turn of a tap, is a precious commodity that is inaccessible to so many people around the world.


A friend brought my attention to this interesting invention that might make clean drinking water available to more people in developing countries. It is a handheld filtration system capable of filtering out both dirt and  illness-causing microbes. It looks like a handy and easy to use device that could make a difference to many people.

For more about the LifeStraw, click here and here.

Water.org also has a similar product, the CamelBak Groove bottle.

However, that’s not the whole solution to the world’s water problem. Communities also need the actual physical access to water, education about good hygiene practices, local community members who are trained to maintain the water and sanitation equipment, and the involvement of all community members taking ownership of the project, volunteering time and effort to construct and maintain such a system. All these together have the potential to drastically improve lives and prevent unnecessary deaths around the world.

For more information about the global water crisis and ways you can help, Water.org looks like a good place to start. Please leave a comment and share if you know of any other similar programs or organizations! I’d love to hear about them!