By Joseph Bentivegna
"Wounds such as this start from small cuts that refuse to heal. In the industrialized world, small cuts heal quickly because a well-nourished boy has a functioning immune system to prevent infections and the capacity to manufacture extra tissues needed for wound healing. In those who are malnourished, the body can not spare the extra energy, since it is too busy maintaining basic metabolic processes. Consequently, these wounds continue to grow. The Haitians are unable to afford shoes and walk in raw sewage, so the wound gets infected and re-infected until it becomes unmanageable. Sickeningly often, only an amputation can prevent the infection from spreading."
"The biggest culprit in Haiti (causing diarrhea) is artificial milk preparations with lactose, a complex sugar that cannot be absorbed unless it is broken down by the enzyme lactase. Cow's milk contains lactose, so that Caucasians, who have been weaned on cow's milk since the Middle Ages, have been selected out so that almost all have lactase. Unfortunately, many blacks--as many as 30%--lack it and will develop diarrhea when given milk preparations that are distributed by altruistic organizations, sold in stores and even advertised on television."
"Attempts to vaccinate against tuberculosis in Haiti have been fruitless. In the United States, tuberculosis was the leading cause of death at the turn of the twentieth century, but its incidence has gradually declined. Surprisingly, the anti-tuberculosis medicines invented in the 1940s had little effect on the declining rate. The improvement of economic status, along with the concomitant changes in housing and sanitation, was the main factor. Tuberculosis still persists in the inner- city ghetto population and will remain as long as the ghetto remains."
"Visitors would come and distribute jewelry, often to the weaker and sicker patients. The pandemonium that erupted was unbelievable. A lower status woman could not keep a nice piece of jewelry unless she had an Uzi. the other women ganged up on her, beating her and disrupting her few belongings until she gave up the desired status symbol."
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