The daily diet of what we read

One must be thankful that there are things to read other than the blood-filled and vitriol-laced pages of the daily newspapers. Often what one reads from further afield is not comforting but at least this wider reading releases one for a while from the emotional claustrophobia caused by the daily diet of political hatred and  brutal neighbourhood violence reported with such matching ferocity by our media.

●  An article in the Economist should be read closely by every Caricom Minister of Health. It reports that more than 2,000 children die every day from diarrhoea. The means of preventing such deaths include easier access to water for washing and oral dehydration therapy. But it has recently emerged that the best solution may be the very simple and very inexpensive one of persuading people to wash their hands with soap where water is available. A study by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine finds that appropriate hand-washing can cut diarrhoeal diseases by 43%. It may also have a similar impact in preventing respiratory tract infections, the biggest child-killer of all. A major study carried out for the American army has found that such infections fall by 45% when troops washed their hands five times a day. It is clear that promoting life-saving hand-washing should be given a high priority in all health education programmes. And, obviously, private enterprise has a big role to play since the promotion of such programmes, in which they can assist, will significantly increase sales of soap.

●  Too many old friends, much admired acquaintances, figures in the immediate background of my life have been dying recently. I do not mean too many in a statistical sense since at my age of over 80 years the large number of such deaths is probably about the norm. I simply mean too many because even one death of someone quite close is a death too many and hurts badly and, in any, case, signals that the …..To continue reading, login or subscribe now.

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