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How can Money Save Lives?

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  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 16 September 2016
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Our world is one that requires money, for just about everything related to quality of life. We fork over money for food, shelter, health care, medicine, and clothing. Further we pay for things like power and water. We must use money for the barest essentials because this is how the world economy operates. Without money, we would soon lack things basic to survival. Thus money can literally be said to save lives; it saves our own lives.

In developing countries, things we might consider as basic necessities are often sadly lacking for want of money. These things, like clean water or adequate shelter, often cost far less but are still not affordable to large segments of the population. Some other things that we consider as necessities, like health care or access to prescription medications are only affordable by the top earners in third world countries. Thus a child may die for want of an antibiotic, which for many US, Canadian, and European citizens seems scarcely possible.

Unsanitary conditions like contaminated water and poor plumbing or sewage issues can easily leave whole towns in a third world country very sick. Some may die. While we raise red flag warnings if spinach gets contaminated, and we should, there is simply no money to employ stricter safety practices in some countries.

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We can evaluate certain portions of Africa as absolutely devastated by the AIDs virus. While now, the HIV cocktail of medications is doing much to extend the lives of people in Western Countries, HIV contraction and death figures in Africa continue to grow. In some areas, children with HIV no longer have parents, because they have succumbed to AIDs. They also have no means, or very poor means to acquire money to care for themselves.

The problem is so staggering that the governments of such countries often must ask other countries, and charitable organizations for financial assistance. This is where one’s pocketbook enters the picture. It is absolutely true that by contributing to reputable charities one can not only improve lives but also save them.

As compared to the high drug costs for the HIV cocktail in the US, costs for HIV medications in Africa are much lower. Therefore, money contributed can actually be stretched to save the lives of many. What costs 6000 US dollars (USD) for a year of the HIV cocktail in the US, costs about 600 dollars in Africa. Thus a donation of 6000 USD a year could save ten people, a donation of 600 could save one. 50 USD a month seems a small price to pay for saving someone’s life. However, in South Africa, the government is only able to spend about 40 USD a year on a person’s healthcare, woefully short of the mark.

Consider the following. Each day a person buys a 3.50 USD latte from Starbucks. If it costs .50 USD to make your own coffee instead you would have an average of 90 USD extra each month. Add 10 USD and you could theoretically save two lives a year.

Not everyone is similarly positioned to make such a contribution, but many Westerners are. However, a problem of the magnitude in African countries and other developing nations requires more than simply money. Conceptualize money contributed to make a viable vaccine for HIV. How stunning would it be to prevent HIV forever? It would not solve all the world’s problems, nor save every life. But it would certainly be a start in the right direction, an act of opening the heart as well as the wallet that could forever improve the human condition.

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