The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

World healthcare: three amazing maps

with 6 comments

Check out these stunning images from Kirstyn E’s Global Health Equity: A Night With Dr. Paul Farmer. You’ll see maps of the world with nations adjusted by size to show the world by population, then the world by AIDS virus, then the world by access to physician. Hold on to your hat.

1. The world by population:

World by population

2. The world by AIDS:

World by AIDS virus

3. The world by access to physicians:

Word by access to physician

Wouldn’t you think that healthcare would go where the sickness is?
No so. Like most things, in a world yearning for justice, it goes mainly to where the money is.

There’s work to be done. Don’t give up!

Tags: , , , , , Monte Asbury


Written by Monte

October 29, 2007 at 6:05 pm

6 Responses

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  1. I know how Mobuto got power. I know more about it than I wish, because it is not an honorable bit of history for the United States.

    Are you suggesting, though, that once he began stealing his country’s money, that it was right to continue funding him?

    If the United States is going to give money to other contries, shouldn’t we at least try to make sure it reaches the people in need?

    Monte Says: You bet we should try to make sure it reaches the people in need! You bet we should deal sternly with tyrants when they steal money given for the poor! And you bet we should continually evaluate the effectiveness of money we give, to make sure we get the most for it, and to ever revise our methods of delivery of aid. Finding how best to give it so as to build up people and countries into survival and self-sufficiency is difficult, I am very sure.

    Most difficult of all may be for us to keep doing what God makes possible for us to do without becoming cynical when some of it doesn’t work out the way we’d hoped. Then it’s time to re-group, look hard at what went wrong, and come in another way.


    November 7, 2007 at 8:06 pm

  2. renaissanceguy,

    Perhaps one should consider who put Mobutu Sese Seko in power, and who propped him up once he was there — the USA.

    Monte said: Steve’s point is enormously important, for, indeed, all of Africa was claimed by Western powers not that long ago. People were forcibly moved from their homes (often in areas where Malaria was not a problem), forbidden to practice agriculture, and forced to work at raw materials production for Western corporations. When the prices of raw materials fell, Westerners withdrew, leaving devastation across the continent, along with few checks on the power of corruption. I see aid to Africa as restitution, not as a give-away.

    RG, you are correct that corrupt leaders need to be opposed at every turn. But the presence of notoriously corrupt leaders in some areas is no argument for curtailment of payments to others. The USA owes more than it will ever repay. Hope you’ve read A brief history of Iran-US relations on my blog. Our nation’s history of worldwide piracy is truly disgusting; Iran is yet another case in point.


    November 3, 2007 at 7:01 am

  3. Darthben and Monte,

    You complain about certain people having too little, and then you complain about certain people having too much. I wonder what kind of society you envision. Actually I shudder to think of it. I’ve already read about it in Animal Farm and 1984.

    Monte Says: I read about it in Leviticus 25:10-17, where every family regained equal access to an earned income every 50 years: the Rockefellers and the nobodies were returned to their original property, under authority of government, ensuring that no one would grow too rich (which the Bible sees as a threat to society) and no one too poor. We call it mercy.

    The books you read were designed to show what might happen if certain views were carried to extremes. We call that fiction. They are purely hypothetical, just one person’s imagination. They may provide a hint of a reason to avoid the extremes they oppose, but they certainly were never intended to recommend the equally evil extremes at the other end of the spectrum. And they can’t be said to be true in any sense!

    As to “complaining about certain people having too much” or my favoring preferential treatment of the poor, I’m in good company, and I hope you’ll join me. There’s Jesus:

    Luke 6:”But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort.” [Is this the US church’s message re: wealth?]
    Mark 10: “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor…”
    Matthew 11: “The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor.”
    Luke 11: “But give what is inside the dish to the poor…”
    Luke 14: “But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind,

    And Paul:

    1 Timothy 6: “People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction.”
    2 Cor: As it is written: “He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor …”

    And James:

    James 5:1 “Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you.”
    James 2:5 “Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? 6But you have insulted the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you?”

    Government help in Jesus’ day – under Roman enslavement – was not an option. Today, as members of a democracy, our stewardship includes our effect on our government. You advocate using your stewardship to make sure no one can limit the wealth of the “haves'”; I advocate using it to make sure no one can rob the “have-nots'” of those basic rights needed to emerge from poverty: an opportunity to work, a fair wage, a fair education, a fair shot at health for them and their children. Millions in America and around the world lack those things, and our families, our churches, and our nation are called by God to help those who suffer.

    Special care for the poor is a Genesis to Revelation responsibility of individual, family, religion, and government. Protection of the rich just ain’t.


    November 1, 2007 at 2:19 am

  4. Monte, you can probably guess that I am against foreign aid to begin with. But since countries get it, I repeat that they should put it to good use.

    I lived in Zaire for a few months in 1996. President Mobutu Sese Seko pocketed billions, yes billions, of dollars in money from the IMF, the World Bank, and individual countries, not to mention the mining companies. Oh, and he taxed his own people, of course.

    Between its own abundant resources and the foreign aid it receives, ALL the problems of Zaire (now DRC) could have been solved and still could.

    That was my point. The money that could be spent on improving infrastrucure and education goes into the pockets of greedy officials. And what do people here say? We’d better send them more money !


    November 1, 2007 at 2:17 am

  5. what’s really sick about this is that many of the illnesses and diseases that we have in this country are caused by our excesses. We eat way too much meat, drink way too much beer (both of these industries require a huge amount of grain to sustain them, which takes grain away from other contries), smoke too much-and by all these excesses we make ourselves sick. If we used our luxuries in a responsibly healthy way, we need doctors nearly as much.

    Monte Says: Yes, a fascinating group of world health experts on Charlie Rose Monday night observed that when Western commerce arrives in developing nations, these illnesses arrive there, as well. I live in Iowa, which is probably in the midst of the largest harvest of corn in history. Much of it goes to feed animals for meat. Much goes to corn sweeteners. Some will go to ethanol. But most of what’s grown here is no longer food that goes directly to someone’s table; that comes mainly from other places.


    October 30, 2007 at 8:26 pm

  6. It’s too bad that the countries with high infection rates don’t use at least some of the money we give them to train and retain doctors.

    Monte Says: Which brings up an interesting point. Most Americans are under the impression that something like 20% of the US budget goes to foreign aid. The actual figure is <1%. Taken as a percentage of GDP (.01%) or a per capita figure ($22 in 2002), the richest nation on earth ranks 18th or 21st in its generosity, far below most developed nations.

    The U.K., for example (number 6), as a percentage of GDP gives away almost ten times more per person than does the USA.

    The USA lags way behind most wealthy nations in shouldering a share of the world’s needs appropriate to its wealth. We are not generous.


    October 29, 2007 at 10:14 pm

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