In principle, adequate health care is possible for everyone; but the vitality of the Third World rural people continues to be sapped by poor health and disease. For example: (a) Many millions drink from and bathe in open rivers and untreated irrigation canals; human and animal waste is deposited in the same water. A high percentage of such people are infected by parasites; and, although treatment for parasites can be increased, without concomitant changes in excreta disposal this threat to life and health will not be overcome. (b) Infant death rates due to such diseases as diarrhoea and measles are alarmingly high, despite the fact that these maladies are easily controllable with the resources available in the cities. (c) Malnutrition in pre-school age children greatly compounds health problems with its resultant occurrence of rickets, scurvy and protein deficiency. (d) Eye diseases, diet deficiencies and dust unnecessarily disable village workers. (e) Poor toilet and sanitation facilities in most homes, plus the presence of animals in the eating and living quarters, perpetuate the spread of disease and harmful bacteria. Villagers may be aware of these hazards, but they see no alternative.
Number of U.S. residents who died of anthrax between October 1 and November 1, 2001 = 4. Approximate number of U.S. residents who died, during the same month, as a result of having smoked cigarettes = 33,000 (World Watch Magazine, January/February 2002).
Within a decade it is now possible to achieve one of the greatest goals that humanity could ever set for itself -- the goal of adequate food, clean water, safe sanitation, primary health care, family planning and basic education for virtually every man, woman and child on earth.