Reality Check!

So, amidst writing a paper on the Asian Currency Crisis of 1997, trying to “enjoy” a jazz concert (a necessity for a class), handling my work, planning my grandpa’s memorial and trying to pen an outstanding eulogy for Saturday, I tend to think that I’m pretty busy. Overwhelmed, even. Then I realize how good my life is when I read about how TB — a disease that is foreign to developed nations –  is killing men, women and children worldwide; it’s definitely quite the reality check.

World TB Day is March 24th and to commemorate, the Stop TB Partnership site put out some crazy statistics that most of us would find astounding:

* Someone in the world is newly infected with TB bacilli every second
* Overall, one-third of the world’s population is currently infected with the TB bacillus
* 5 – 10% of people who are infected with TB (but not infected with HIV)  become sick or infectious at some time during their life. People with HIV and TB infection are much more likely to actually develop TB

What’s most depressing is the fact that it’s tuberculosis; something we haven’t experienced as an epidemic in America for decades, yet it a disease that has  invaded South-East Asia, an area that accounts for 34% of incident cases globally. The estimated incidence rate in sub-Saharan Africa is far worse, nearly twice (!!) that of South-East Asia, about 350 cases per 100,000 population. Now, after some concerted efforts, the rate of growth for TB is pretty stagnant in Africa after a rapid growth in the 1990s, but it is still estimated that 1.6 million people died from the disease in a single year.

In 2006, WHO launched the new Stop TB Strategy outlining their desire to half the number of TB incidences by 2015. World TB Day is primarily geared towards bringing attention to the overwhelming population that is still infected with TB all over the world. Check out the the World Health Organization’s Stop TB Partnership website  and the World TB Day website to read some awesome stories about survivors, about humanitarian efforts and to download information on the fight against TB.

With all of that going on in the world, I think our lives are pretty great.

Indian Development Foundation fighting TB.

Indian Development Foundation fighting TB.



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