The Eugene Bell Foundation and other NGOs dedicated to eradicating TB from the world are taking the risk of collaborating with the North Korean Government, which is conventionally seen as untrustworthy and unreliable. They are investing considerable time and resources into helping the NK Government treat and cure those of its citizens who have the disease. This task is made even more challenging by the fact that many people are infected with a drug resistant strain.
The gamble of collaborating with the North Korean Government has paid off. All the partners involved have been able to co-ordinate effectively and the initiative has cured 70% of the patients it has treated.
Given the massive size of the above health problem, investing additional time in encouraging a small group of Harvard Undergraduates to raise $5000 to treat one North Korean patient seems laudable but somewhat insignificant (apart from to the patient concerned of course). However, encouraging this type of initiative, although seemingly insignificant within the greater scheme of things, will eventually help achieve the long-term aims of the NGOs and their North Korean partners. This is for two main reasons: 1. it makes the problem immediate, personal and memorable; 2. it raises awareness of the issues amongst (and encourages involvement from) those who are most likely to become valuable advocates and donors or become much needed aid workers and medical staff.
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