There are at least 550 million persons with disabilities today who represent around one in ten of the world's population. Around 450 million of them live in developing countries. According to the World Health Organization, 60% of the causes of disability could have been -- or still could be -- alleviated through low-cost preventative measures. In 1992, the director of UNICEF declared that for a few dollars per capita, the parents of the world could be helped to prevent their children from becoming malnourished, blinded, crippled, mentally retarded or dead.
In 1997, more people in the world died (nearly six million) from tuberculosis and malaria than in any previous year. The growth in gross global GNP and capability did not stop these diseases of poverty from their mass destruction. Concentration of power and wealth and the gross insensitivity of economic and political leadership had a good deal to do with these preventable casualties.