Anyone who has ever taken a First Aid Course has learned that when you come across a person in need of medical assistance, you perform an initial evaluation. The medical field gave it the cute mnemonic, the “ABC’s of assessment”. A is for airway, B is for breathing, and C is for circulation. These three priorities are imperative for a patient to survive. Each component needs to be addressed, in that exact order, for the next one to be effective.
“783 million people do not have access to clean and safe water. That is 1 in 9 people world wide.”-World Health Organization/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Program for Water Supply and Sanitation.
When first responders arrive at an emergency scene and are outnumbered by the amount of patients involved, they perform something called triage. Triage is the process of sorting patients to determine the order of treatment based on the severity of their medical condition. A very rudimentary breakdown of the process can be viewed as 3 separate categories of patients. People who are most likely to live, no matter what treatment they receive, people who are likely to die, no matter what treatment they receive, and people who would receive the most benefit from treatment, possibly making the difference between life and death.
“Waterborne diseases, carried by unsafe water, have killed more people than all wars and other diseases combined.”-Living Water, International.
I’ve been asked “Why Water?” Why not raise funds for Lupus since that is what affects me or why not help fund cancer research since that is what took my Dad, aunts, cousins and numerous friends? I mean, water security issues aren’t even an issue for us.
“Water-related diseases cause 2.2 million deaths a year; every day, diarrhea takes the lives of 2,000 children in Africa—more than any other single cause of death. Safe water, a toilet, and clean hands could prevent 90% of these deaths.”-Living Water, International.
We’ve donated to the Cancer Society, have sponsored friends for cancer fundraisers and will continue to do so. Cancer not only devastates the lives of those diagnosed but for their families and friends as well. I’ve witnessed the evils of my father undergoing chemotherapy and succumbing to the horrendous disease within one year when I was a teenager. It sucks and I want it GONE.
“The water crisis is the #1 global risk based on impact to society (as a measure of devastation).”-World Economic Forum, January 2015.
Lupus, although not fun is not a universally fatal disease. Majority of patients who work closely with their doctor, adhere to treatments, and maintain a healthy lifestyle of diet and exercise have very good chances of surviving. 80-90% of people with lupus can expect to live a normal life span when detected early enough and acted upon. It does vary in intensity and degree and my heart breaks for those who experience severe symptoms, even more so for those who lose their lives to it. Fortunately, that is a low percentage of those diagnosed. Though there is no cure, there is a big difference in living an altered life due to a disease as opposed to dying from it.
Nearly 1 out of every 5 deaths under the age of 5 worldwide is due to a water-related disease.-WHO/UNICEF. “Why children are still dying and what can be done.”
There are so many worthy charities out there and for that I am grateful. But where do you start? Where should your efforts go when you don’t feel like you can even make a dent in any one issue? Many people have a tendency to freeze at this point. You feel overwhelmed and the situation feels useless, so instead of making a decision to move in any one direction, you don’t make any decision at all.
“Women and children spend 125 million hours each day collecting water. This time is spent not working, caring for family members or attending school.” World Health Organization and UNICEF Joint Monitoring Program (JMP). (2015)
So what happens when an overwhelming desire to help is surrounded by overwhelming need?
You assess. You triage.
Then you go to where you can make the biggest impact.
“Universal access to safe water and sanitation would result in $18.5 billion in economic benefits each year from deaths avoided alone.”-World Health Organization. (2012). Global costs and benefits of drinking-water supply and sanitation interventions to reach the MDG target and universal coverage.
Water is not only vital for health issues, but for hunger, education, poverty, and for the economy. Just like the ABC’s of assessment, each component needs to be addressed, in that order, for the next one to be effective.
“443 million school days are lost each year due to water-related diseases.”-United Nations Development Program. “Human Development Report
Safe water and improved sanitation causes the standard of health to skyrocket faster than anything else. ⇒Access to water leads to food security. Food is finally able to be grown, hunger is reduced. ⇒Time lost to sickness and gathering water is reduced and children return to class, stay in school and get an education. ⇒Educated people have a better chance of lifting themselves out of poverty. ⇒Self-sufficient households are less affected by conflict, famine or inadequate government services and contribute to the economy.
According to the World Health Organization, for every $1 invested in water and sanitation, there is an economic return of between $3 and $34!
It’s a positive domino effect, but you have to start with that first, critical piece. Otherwise the effort you make on the next component won’t be effective.
You guys, about 2,200 children died yesterday due to lack of clean water. Another 2,2oo will die today. Another 2,200 tomorrow. The thought of that makes me frantic. We can’t raise our funds fast enough.
I’ve been acutely aware of my water usage lately. We always try to be conscious of it and conserve but it’s just sooo easy to take something as simple as water at the touch of a faucet for granted when you’ve had access to it your whole life. We have precise control over the temperature of gallons of water when we shower everyday. I use it to cook, clean, water my plants, and never give a second thought to its source or safety.
I cannot accept that everyone doesn’t have access to this simple yet basic need for life and it sickens me to think that the water currently in my toilet is cleaner than the water that so many people are drinking. So for this motherload of a fundraising effort, we are choosing water.