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I am a strong advocate that everyone deserves to be healthy as a human right. To be able to get through the fragile first five years of life is the most critical time. In developed nations there is a pretty fair chance that infant and child mortality will be a rare event. In third world countries, not so fortunate. The tragedy is that most of these deaths are preventable. According to studies, more than 50% of children under age five in the third world that die, are killed by smoke inhalation from unventilated in home cooking from open fires. Next was water borne illnesses and parasitic micro-organisms. Washing hands is the simple and easiest solution, where there is available clean water. In the Peruvian Andes anemia, in part caused by parasites, affects over 95% of all children that were tested. I had been involved in three such studies. In pueblos and villages, trying to change sanitation practices with photos of parasites and the effect they have on humans is a short term ineffective 'finger in the dike' solution. We pass out bars of soap to children to encourage using them. The single best attack on parasites is a medicine called Albendazole. I checked prices internationally and was totally astounded by the contrast. The average price in the U.S. was $382.10. for a daily dose. Canadian prices at pharmacies were about 16% that. I went to the pharmacies in Peru and found the exact medicine, same 200mg. dosage for just $6.17 for a box of 100 tablets. That was enough to eradicate this health concern for fifty children, or said another way, 12 cents per child. Much of our donated funds goes to this medicine and we bring it with us on every campaign to each outback pueblo we go to. Because sanitation practices are not likely to change regardless of our pleas, we re-dose when we return. Our blood tests for anemia have proven the effectiveness of this medicine. When combined with multiple vitamins, it is a powerful weapon against early childhood deaths and the effects of anemia. No child should have to suffer the ravages of parasitic micro-organisms.

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