Against the overriding burden of state failure in SA, disease looms large. The greatest pandemic of all time, the influenza pandemic of 1918, was responsible for the deaths of more people in one year — about 50-million — than the Black Death more than a century earlier, and two to three times as many as Aids has in the past 30 years.

Yet the World Bank stated after the 2007-2009 financial crisis that the world would, sooner or later, find itself on the brink of another pandemic, that all counties would be affected, that medical supplies would be inadequate, that a large number of deaths would occur, and that economic and social disruption would be big.

This is our Armageddon; we are facing a catastrophic battle. Untold pressures on sources of economic wealth will abound, nuclear weapons will continue to proliferate and new diseases will always evolve. Nuclear weapons and climate change, terrorism, migration, economics, food and water supply and — looming large — disease, are global problems and as such require global solutions. Individual countries cannot effectively tackle these problems alone.

Barely a month after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Albert Einstein said the only salvation for civilisation and humanity was the creation of a world government to deal not only with matters of war but the other constructs mentioned above, including rampant disease. He went further to say that if a world government is not realistically attainable, there is only one realistic view of our future and that is the wholesale destruction of man by man.

To this I add man, by disease. There is not much the World Health Organisation, as a UN agency, can do to control this pandemic. I firmly believe it is up to us as individuals to control the spread of this scourge.

Stan Sandler
Via e-mail  

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