On Friday May 20th, STAND, Oxfam, Project Nur, and ONE hosted the 2nd annual Human Rights Day at The Ohio State University. To begin with our clubs tabled outside of one of our libraries to raise awareness about various human rights issues. ONE members got new petition signers for the vaccine petition.
Later in the day we had two faculty speakers come to lecture students at the Ohio Union. And we ended the night with a free concert in which we invited attendees to donate nonperishable items or money for CRIS, a charity helping refugees in the Columbus area. Special thanks to Stephanie Sobek, ONE member and STAND President, for all of her hard work in making this day happen.
The selling and planting of hybrid seeds are spurring agricultural and economic growth in Mozambique. Especially with rising food prices currently greatly affecting the developing world, high crop yields mean greater income and stability for farmers and their communities.
They’re not quite Victory Gardens, but they’re still quite a success.
"Over the past three extraordinary decades, we have faced the daunting challenge of developing an effective biomedical tool to prevent HIV infection, particularly an AIDS vaccine…If that once seemed nearly impossible, it no longer does, thanks to a series of significant scientific advances over the past two years. Scientists now have in hand the first rudimentary tools we need to defeat this most challenging of viruses. We now know that we will have an AIDS vaccine.”
“…every day, an additional 7,100 people become HIV positive, and for each person put on antiretroviral drugs, two are newly infected by the virus. While indispensible, the provision of HIV treatment cannot keep pace with this modern plague.
Even in the U.S., there are 56,000 new HIV infections each year, and the government spends $16.7 billion domestically on treatment and care for AIDS. The only medically and fiscally sane option we have is to find an efficient way to reverse the tide of new infections. Vaccines provide that option. As illustrated by recent efforts of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) — which is led by the author of this piece — when done right, support for such research has the added benefit of spurring innovation in American industry.
Fortunately researchers have, with government support, made significant headway to that end. In 2009, a clinical trial in Thailand, conducted by U.S. military and Thai researchers, demonstrated for the first time that vaccines can in fact prevent HIV.
Meanwhile, researchers at and affiliated with IAVI have over the past two years isolated fifteen antibodies capable of neutralizing a broad spectrum of globally circulating HIV variants; others, at the National Institutes of Health, have independently found similarly powerful antibodies. Each of these discoveries holds valuable clues to the design of more effective HIV vaccine candidates."
* * * * *
You may not have school off today (well, summer school in this case…or maybe you’ve already grabbed hold of that expensive sheep skin), but World AIDS Vaccine Day is a mini-holiday we should all celebrate today. Pass on the good news about the potential AIDS vaccine and the life-saving capabilities of ARVs to all your friends and family!
For many of us coffee-addicts, putting down $3 a day (okay, maybe more like $9+ a day during finals week) to get our caffeine-kick is totally worth the money to get through however many hours we need to stay awake for.
But did you know that the amount you spend on coffee every day is equal to the cost of purchasing vaccines for several children? While your drink merely helps you get through the day, vaccinations help keep children healthy for the rest of their lives.
Check out the link above to see the cost equivalent of vaccines to your everyday small purchases; they don’t call vaccines a “best buy” in public health for nothing!
For Togo and Guinea Bissau, this past week has ushered in a brief period of Jubilee*.
On Tuesday, the Paris Club decided to cancel $256 million of Guinea Bissau’s debt. On Wednesday, France decided to cancel all of Togo’s debt, for a total of $143.1 million forgiven.
The reason? Togo and Bissau have both made significant strides toward economic reform and poverty reduction within their borders, efforts which have fulfilled debt relief conditions set forth by the Paris Club. The granting of debt relief is meant to encourage Togo and Bissau to continue their poverty-fighting efforts without the heavy burden of debt repayment.
Merci beaucoup, Paris!
* * * * *
(*The biblical concept of Jubilee is a year-long period of renewal and divine mercy that took place every ~50 years, of which included the freeing of slaves and prisoners, returning property to its original ownership, etc. Today, one way to live out Jubilee is debt forgiveness.)
“Excerpt from "Medicine Serves as a Currency of Peace":
"A few years back, while in Southern Sudan, I met a family on a dusty rural strip of road. As they made their way toward me, I saw that the mother was carrying a yellow jug of water on her head and a baby swaddled on her back. Her two other children were skipping alongside her, using a stick to spin an old bicycle tire. Dropping the stick, the children watched me with curiosity, until the little boy worked up his nerve to speak.
“My name is America,” he said with pride. I told him I loved his name and that I came from America. Grinning, he looked at his mom and then back at me. “My mom named me that because an American doctor saved our lives the day I was born.”
There are millions of “Americas” around the world, thanks to our understanding that our health dollars achieve many ends. Medical diplomacy transforms hearts, minds and lives and revolutionizes how people see us.
America is an exceptional country and our leadership has vaccinated children, given them clean water to drink and saved them from lives shortened by the tragedy of AIDS. They will go on to be doctors, teachers and scientists. They are not likely to go on to raise arms against America. This is a gift we give our children.”
Read former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist’s (R-TN) full article here.”—
The ONE Campaign at Ohio State has it’s own Twitter account (http://www.twitter.com/#!/ONEcampaignOSU). And we decided to ask out followers the following question: What poverty-related issue is closest to your heart?
My answer was: Education. I believe the world’s poor want an opportunity to work their way out of poverty, not to rely on charity. Other answers included HIV/AIDS, good governance, maternal health, malaria, agriculture, hunger, human trafficking, vaccines, 22,000 children dying a day of preventable diseases, and clean water.
Here are a few responses I’d like to share:
Christy Turligton, model and founder of Every Mother Counts: “#5 - to improve maternal health and reduce maternal mortality by 3/4 by 2015- is the heart of the MDG’s.#Everymothercounts"
Michael Gerson, columnist for the Washington Post: “malaria and mother-to-child transmission of HIV — the killers of children. Both completely preventable.”
Lauren Hammel, ONE Regional College Organizer: “ the closest issue for me: education, malaria, HIV, and debt relief…I love Jeff Sachs and all he fights for. :)
There really is not wrong answer as there are so many issues that are cause by, causes of, or linked to poverty. For more responses please visit our Twitter page. (http://wwww.twitter.com/#!/ONEcampaignOSU)
These comic book characters probably aren’t going to be on the silver screen anytime soon à la Spiderman or Batman, but they’ll still help save the day by educating a broad audience of people in developing countries about topics like hygiene, agriculture, natural disaster responses, and other healthly lifestyle practices. Super innovative, huh?
"…global deaths from malaria have fallen from nearly a million a year in 2000 to 781,000 in 2009. But even while we mark what may be a turning point in our effort to eradicate the disease, we cannot overestimate our progress. It is fragile."