29 December 2008

Human rights: HEALTH

Fighting against "stupid deaths," is, "never the work of one," according to Dr. Paul Farmer, founding director of Partners In Health, "or even of a small group." His goal is lofty:
"...nothing less than the refashioning of our world into one in which no one starves, drinks impure water, lives in fear of the powerful and violent, or dies ill and unattended."
This I believeDr. Farmer recently wrote an article in The Rotarian to address the lack of access to effective prevention and care--a primary barrier to health equity across the globe. He has contributed a brief summary of his values, presented as one chapter in National Public Radio's series, This I believe. In fact, NPR invites everyone to share the beliefs that guide them - you, too, can contribute. Tell NPR what you believe »

60 Minutes to watch... and a lifetime to act

This May, CBS's 60 Minutes featured a segment on the work of Partners In Health. In case you missed any part of the broadcast, it can be viewed here. If the images you saw and the voices you heard have inspired you, learn more about how you can contribute to PIH's work in Haiti, and the movement for health and social justice around the world. more

Among other initiatives supporting the work of PIH:

Choppers for doctors!

In Lesotho, it’s difficult to get around. Villages are sometimes accessible only by single-engine propeller aircraft or on horseback. There are often no roads in rural areas and patients must walk hours to clinics. Transporting patients and medical supplies is often an ordeal.

The nonprofit organization Riders for Health is working to help change this by donating ultra-rugged motorcycles for PIH Lesotho staff to use. The vehicles are expected to greatly enhance health-care delivery, allowing health workers to regularly and reliably visit communities previously inaccessible except on foot.

Riders For HealthRiders for Health’s first-ever program started in Lesotho in 1991, running a fleet of 47 motorcycles that ran for seven years without a single breakdown. Mahali Hlasa, a dedicated health professional who qualified as the first “rider trainer” under Riders for Health in 1991, is now the program director of Riders’ new program in Lesotho. Riders’ return to Lesotho was prompted by the rapid and alarming decline of the country's public-health status following the growth of HIV/AIDS and associated TB.

13 December 2008

Seihan Mori declared "change" to be Japan's "character of the year."

Change voted Japan's character of the yearTOKYO (AFP) – After helping Barack Obama sweep to victory in the US election, the president-elect's motto of "change" was Friday declared character of the year by a monk at one of Japan's most revered temples.
Using a calligraphy brush to write the single character on a wooden platform as tourists looked on, Seihan Mori, chief monk at Kiyomizu temple in the ancient capital of Kyoto, declared "change" to be Japan's character of the year.

The event was hosted by a Kyoto-based group that promotes the use of "kanji," the Chinese characters used in the Japanese language.

The public sent in 111,200 nominations for the kanji of the year.

Of those, a majority 5.42 percent endorsed "change," followed by "gold," suggesting the Beijing Olympics, and "fall" to reflect the global market plunge.

"I think it is an expression of the Japanese people's wishes to see political, economic and societal changes, as they were impressed by Mr. Obama's message of change," Mori said.

He added that the term's significance also came into prominence because of the world's growing attention to the impact of climate change.
"What is important to note, however, is that it is (the individual) who must change," he said.

Kiyomizu-dera entrance
The Kiyomizu temple dates back to 798, and its present buildings were constructed in 1633. It takes its name from the Otowa waterfall, where three channels of water drop into a pond within the complex, which runs off the nearby hills.

Otowa-no-taki, the waterfall where visitors drink for health, longevity, and success in studies: