I’ve been coming across various simple yet unique ways that the world may be helped to become “better.” The other day I was listening to NPR and a healthcare expert was explaining how the implementation of a certain systematic hand washing procedure would decrease the likelihood of infections by a dramatic percentage. The the worst hospital in the only state (Michigan, thanks THK) to have incorporated this procedure has a less likelihood of infections than the best hospital of the rest of the America. This may not help health coverage, but it certainly sounds like a cost efficient way to increase health quality.
I was also reading Nicholas Kristof’s NYTimes Op-Ed Column, “Raising the World’s IQ“, and he talks about another simple, unique and cost-effective way to better the world:
“Travelers to Africa and Asia all have their favorite forms of foreign aid to “make a difference.” One of mine is a miracle substance that is cheap and actually makes people smarter.
Unfortunately, it has one appalling side effect. No, it doesn’t make you sterile, but it is just about the least sexy substance in the world. Indeed, because it’s so numbingly boring, few people pay attention to it or invest in it. (Or dare write about it!)
It’s iodized salt.
Almost one-third of the world’s people don’t get enough iodine from food and water. The result in extreme cases is large goiters that swell their necks, or other obvious impairments such as dwarfism or cretinism. But far more common is mental slowness.”
It’s quite sad that such a great option is overlooked because it’s not glamorous enough. I wonder how many good options are overlooked because something is just not marketable… Isn’t efficiency glamorous enough? If not that, then the glamor of philanthropy? I guess either way glamor is key. There just is something about beauty we can’t get enough of.
Going off on a bit of a tanget, this iodized salt proposition makes me wonder how differences in cultural diet affects our IQ. I’m kind of glad I’m Korean. We got lots of sodium in our food, hopefully it’s iodized. (Kimchi, baby!) Hmmm… enough thought. Back to finals. Maybe I’ll have some salt for lunch…