31st January 2012
(I have this image of a tsetse fly sitting by the window, weeping into a handkerchief, and looking disconsolately at the phone.)
And what, exactly, are Neglected Tropical Diseases? I thought you would never ask.
Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) are a group of 17 diseases that disproportionally affect the very poor.
Now, one might be forgiven for asking, ‘What, exactly, is it about “the poor” that entitles them to such priority concern? Do they generate a major share of the world’s wealth? No? Do they make life easier and more productive for you and me? No? Then WHO GIVES A SHIT?’ But that would be politically incorrect — because, you see, you have failed to notice that key term, ‘disproportionately’. Everything must be proportionate. Incomes must be proportionate, education must be proportionate, job distribution must be proportionate, diseases must be proportionate, and for all I know Superbowl tickets must be proportionate. The only thing on this planet that is not permitted to be completely and totally proportionate is government handouts.
But the poor we have always with us — just open to any page of a major newspaper, and their affairs are being interminably discussed — and so we must concentrate on their diseases above those that afflict, say, people who produce stuff that make our lives better. Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for people who nobody would ever miss, not even their neighbors.
Funny thing about this list: It appears dominated by diseases that people wouldn’t catch if they kept themselves and their kids clean, didn’t pee in their water supply, and didn’t stick around Third World hellholes. Maybe there’s a hint there. Perhaps they could come to Michigan — oh, wait, they already are.