Sure makes you feel good doesn t it? Imagine that we as a nation have made such great strides to help the poor Africans afford HIV/AIDS medicines by drastically reducing the price to a point cheaper than they can be bought in America. At the equivalent of $6 per month, a patient can receive all of the necessary medicines they need, plus the doctor’s visit, plus the laboratory diagnoses to keep them healthy.
What a bargain , you might say! Well it is true it is a rock bottom price when you compare what it costs in America.
But it is only a bargain in Africa if one does away with food and the other odds and ends. Odds and ends like, water, shelter, health care, clothing and other inconsequential things. Yes, you have odds, and ends, and AIDS. What a set of choices!
The cost of $6 per month represents 20% of the income for the average Kenyan family, existing on less than $1 per day or $30 per month. If one family of six has one member of the family with HIV/AIDS, that translates to 20% of the income going to just the drugs to try to keep that one member alive. If there is inadequate food within the family, even the one receiving treatment has a hard time surviving the side effects of the drug and the other members will of course be malnourished as well.
It is quite a bargain if you do away without food and the other odds and ends. Yes, it comes back to odds, and ends, and AIDS.
The United States currently provides literally billions of dollars in AIDS relief for several African nations. The toll of AIDS is mostly in sub-Saharan Africa. Ten percent of the world’s population has a total of 67% of this disease burden. There are virtually no factories producing any of the medicines for the disease or the opportunistic infections which kill people carrying the virus. Hence, the African continent serves as a veritable financial windfall for drug companies receiving US taxpayer s money as a subsidy for their profits, and providing no real relief of disease burden for the continent. Fewer than 10% of the people who need the life saving drugs will ever receive them given the current distribution process. Let us keep our lives in the perspective of the rest of the world. We can do more. We must do more to make a real difference in Christ s name. It is not the responsibility of the government, drug companies, charitable or humanitarian organizations to meet this need. It is the responsibility of those who claim Christ. What are the odds and ends we are willing to do without to help others know His love? What bargains are we willing to forego at the local malls to make a real difference in the life chances of people halfway around the world? God is watching what bargains we choose. Choose wisely.
Choose to give and give generously!