Thursday, January 24, 2008

For the price of one competent statistician, or even one underpaid intern with Internet access, we could learn to treat child mortality with the same seriousness as terrorism. Almost 10 million children died in 2006 before reaching the age of 5. Since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks are the obvious metric of tragedy as the worst thing to ever happen anywhere, ever, we can express the problem of child mortality as the equivalent of 9/11 happening each and every day. For those who take really terrorism to heart, the toll is like that of a dirty bomb wiping out the entire population of Toronto every three months. I'd even be willing to bet that more children die in one year from malnutrition and malaria than terrorism has ever killed.

Closer to home, when it recently emerged that residents of Nunavut have a life expectancy of less than 50 years, all the headlines observed the fact that residents of Prince Edward Island live the longest. I hope I'm not alone in my shock that there are people in this country who have shorter life expectancies than the people of Somalia.

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