Katstuharu Kameta writes:

One of the most serious problems of child health is that children die from vaccine-preventable diseases (World Health Report,1993) . The number of children who have died from this kind of disease has been reduced by 1.3 million compared to 1985 . Nevertheless, around 2.4 million children under 5 years are still dying every year from such diseases. This problem can be resolved more easily by providing more opportunities to have children injected with vaccines. Costs for providing this vaccine could be very cheep for Japan and other developed countries.

Another problem which I think is serious is that every year in the developing world acute respiratory infections, particularly pneumonia, kill more than 4 million children under 5 years of age. This also can be resolved by treating the underlying bacterial infections with low-cost antibiotics for a few days. Measles, neonatal tetanus, tuberculosis, pertussis, poliomyelitis and diphtheria these disease could be preventable diseases. These diseases also could be treated with such drugs, along with some newly researched knowlede how to treat them.

Drug associations and doctors might help improve this situation. They can cooperate with each other, for example, with drug associations making vaccines and antibiotics readily available, and doctors working in developing countries and delivering drugs and vaccines to the children. In general, people can also resolve this problem by volunteer efforts, such as a campaign to raise funds. For example, Japanese medical students who reregister for their first classes could pay 1,000 yen for a fund to serve such a purpose. This money then could be used to buy vaccines and antibiotics for children in these countries.

How could students volunteer their time? For students who do not have much money or authority, one of the effective things they can do is to recognize how serious these problems are for the developing countries and think about how the ideas they read and study about could be put to work in developing countries. Of course we are medical students now. So we help primarily by studying medical problems, but in the future we might be able to help these countries as doctors. For example, doctors can associate with worldwide organizations like the Red Cross or WHO, and offer to people in developing countries with some of the newest tecnologies or treatments. Furthermore, doctors could help by reserching such diseases as measles, neonatal tetanus, tuberculosis, pertussis, poliomyelitis and diphtheria , or by advising people on sanitary ploblems and nutrition which we are now learning in this class. As medical students, we have to be more interested in these kinds of problems, because we can understand the situation and the problems by reading English reports in addition to Japanese reports. By making good use of this information, we have to learn medical subjests more practically.

Other essays...