Category Archives: demographics

A Remarkable Story of Progress

Sometimes, it gets to be so tiring listening to the day’s news. All that crap and bad news that gets thrown our way!

If it’s not a religious war, it’s an act of terror. Then, it’s a beaten down economy, a building collapse that kills, or corrupt politicians.

So, it feels great when you can take a deliberate step back and find something quite different.  Like progress.

This post is about compelling, big-league progress – in medical science, in governance and for humanity, against a dreaded disease. It’s progress worth talking about.

Polio has been one of the most debilitating disease of this century.

Therefore, it’s great to discover, to share and to spread some wonderful news about polio –

  • In 1988, there were 350,000 cases of polio reported worldwide. In 2012? Two hundred and twenty-three. Yes, that’s 223 (and only 22 cases reported so far this year).
  • The last remaining cases of polio in the world are limited to three countries (Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria)
  • India has been polio free for more than two years!
  • Since 1988, the polio vaccine has prevented more than 10 million cases of paralysis and more than 500,000 deaths

Now, that’s what I call remarkable progress.  You can take that to the bank!

And what a great way to start your day and week, instead of the usual bad crap that ends up taking too much space in your brain. Right?

POLIO_TransitTeamIndia_450x300

Click on the photo to see what The Gates Foundation is doing to eradicate polio

[With progress comes responsibility. The CDC says that if children are not vaccinated against polio, i.e., if we were to stop our current vaccination efforts, then within a decade we would see a resurgence of polio that could paralyze more than 200,000 children worldwide every year].

The WHO, UNICEF and the Gates Foundation have been pouring in their resources to ensure that the disease gets eradicated. Many of the successful processes used in India are being tapped to focus on the last three remaining countries where polio continues to exist.

The goal?

That the world is completely polio free by 2015. And stays that way.

With all the focus that exists on reaching this goal and the positive trends so far, it’s fair to assume that this will meet with success.  

Did you know that polio would then be only the second disease (after smallpox) in all of human history that would be completely eradicated due to progress in medical science?

Phenomenal, celebration-worthy progress indeed! 

Do spread the word. 

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Polio - Global Eradication Initiative

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Progressive Action From An Old Country

Here I go again. Taking actual pen to actual paper. I feel a compelling need to write while in flight, don’t ask me why. And this was a particularly long journey – all the way from the Western U.S. to Bombay for two days of meetings (“the return” – but that’s a reflection for a different day).

Here’s what I was thinking about today – Americans (or the rest of the world for that matter) don’t give the Brits enough thought or credit. But something that just happened ought to be lauded. And copied.

I’m talking about the progressive action taken this week by the U.K. government in legislating gay marriages. When I think of how gays are treated in the world, it bears a close resemblance to how women were (and are still in many cases) treated.

Straight but not narrowAs a left-leaning liberal, it is incomprehensible to me that gays are somehow considered unequal to others. Or that any humans can be considered unequal just by virtue of their birth, how they were born. Some majority groups in power simply increase their power quotient by putting down the minority. Perhaps it’s just a natural extension of their macho factor?

Anyway, it’s great to celebrate what this old country is doing to protect the rights of all human beings – including those who just happened to be gay. By doing so, it’s showing the world its leadership and progressive thought, even while being surrounded by conservatives from many corners.

Jon Stewart on Gay Rights

These are the kind of noticeable steps that help the rest of the world change too. Slowly but surely. Therefore, it’s time to once again use concrete actions to celebrate equality and humanity. Isn’t it?

Before I end, I must put in a plug for President Obama who in his second inauguration speech just last month said the following –

“We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths — that all of us are created equal — is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall…” 

He continued:

“It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began. For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers, and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. 

President Obama on Gay Rights

It would be great to see this transformed into progressive action in the country, and not just in a handful of states. Just saying.

Now I hope I find something just as new and bright to write about and celebrate on my long journey back!

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