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Africa's Suffering Children

With thousands dying daily, how long can they survive?

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Africa Children
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Diseases in Africa

Each day in Sub-Saharan Africa, thousands of young children are dying. The saddest part about this incredible crisis is that many of these deaths are happening needlessly.

Low food supplies, unclean and unsafe water -- accompanied by diseases such as malaria, pneumonia, measles, whooping cough, tetanus and tuberculosis are claiming the lives of African children in record numbers. In most cases, death from these illnesses is preventable -- and even curable.

Immunization, nutrition, clean water and simple, basic health-care monitoring and treatment could save the lives of thousands of children every day.

"Africa has the highest infant mortality rates in the world!" explains Fr. Richard Roy. Fr. Roy lived as a missionary for more than 20 years before returning to head the Missionaries of Africa's development office in Washington, DC. "Out of 1,000 children born in various African countries this year, nearly 120 of them will die before their first birthday. It is a horrible situation!"

Most African children die from malnutrition, diarrhea and childhood ailments which might be considered common in other parts of the world. In nearly every case, vaccines exist that could prevent the contraction of these illnesses.

"The children of Africa are suffering more than any group ever has in the history of the modern world." Fr. Roy continues. "People ask me how long things will continue this way. In many ways, I think the answer to that is mostly up to us. Most of the world has an abundance of food, clean water and medicine -- I am praying that those of us who can -- will reach out to these children who are suffering . . . to send them the help they need to survive."

The Missionaries of Africa are currently serving in more than 20 nations throughout Africa. Financial donations are urgently needed to help provide basic care for children -- especially those living in the sub-Saharan region.

"Twenty percent of Africa's children will die before the age of five," a recently released report stated. The statement was part of a series of reports that demonstrate the horrible conditions currently facing children throughout Africa.

"Every day 30,000 children die from a combination of disease- infested water and malnutrition," the report continued. "Water-borne diseases are claiming one child every three seconds. These diseases are the major killers of small children in Africa."

In addition to those lives being claimed for lack of clean water and malnutrition, diseases such as AIDS, malaria, pneumonia and typhoid fever are killing record numbers as well.

"As a consequence of the AIDS epidemic in Sub-Saharan Africa," one report stated, "it is estimated that more than 18 million people have died to date, of which over 3 million have been children. Additionally, more than 25 million adults are currently infected which will result in the continued increase in the number of orphaned children. To date, more than 15 million children have already been orphaned as a result of the epidemic. Another 1 million children are currently infected with the disease."

"We've been appealing for emergency help for the men, women and children in Africa because of the situation that exists there," Fr. Richard Roy explains. "When reports like these are published, people begin to realize just how serious the crisis in Africa is."

"To say that one child out of every five (20%) will die before the age of five is heartbreaking -- and a real human tragedy!" he continues. "Imagine if out of 20 little children you know -- four were going to die before age five . . . how desperately would you want to do something to stop this from happening! Well, that is what's going on in Africa -- it's just that we don't know these little boys and girls personally."

The Missionaries of Africa are currently raising funds to be used for disease prevention among African children. Once collected, these funds are used by missionaries working in the field to help prevent diseases such AIDS, malaria, typhoid, pneumonia and measles as well as to provide food, clothing, clean water and education to those most in need. Anyone interested in contributing should send their check to the organization's Washington, DC, office.

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