Survival: Lives In The Balance: Distant Places, Forgotten Lives (Niger)
Airs Thursday, April 15, 2010 at 11 p.m. on KPBS TV
Millions of people in the developing world, mostly children, die each year from treatable and preventable diseases. Slowly, that is beginning to change as economic growth lifts hundreds of millions of people out of extreme poverty and the circumstances known to perpetuate disease.
Distant Places, Forgotten Lives, Niger:
Tropical diseases threaten a billion people in the world today. Most of those people live in countries that do not have the resources to combat these diseases. In a striking move, a group of pharmaceutical companies pledged to donate enough drugs to target five tropical diseases that affect tens of millions of people in sub-Saharan Africa. They then faced a dilemma: how to effectively deliver these drugs to millions of people. The elegant solution came from the people themselves. Community leaders appointed trusted individuals to receive training to distribute the medicines. The drugs are safe and can be administered widely to at-risk groups. The plan works, but only buys time until better sanitation and safer housing allow the people in these villages to live healthier lives.