President Obama made it his main concern: Systematic medical care of underprivileged people in his country. Even though the so-called "Obamacare-System" does not lead America into a situation comparable to the German health care system, yet, finally the direction seems to be right. According to a 2010 report by the World Health Organization (WHO), lack of suitable health care protection threw about one hundred million people into poverty. And for around a billion people worldwide, medical support is not available or not affordable. These are depressing numbers and urgent issues which, in principle, must be solved at a high political level and in collaboration with representatives of the health care system. Are we personally excluded!? Thanks to omnipotent media in a global way, dramas reach us and seem immense. They seem to bring everybody down emotionally. Still, we allowed the stories get close enough. Particularly, when large numbers are in the game, we manage to dissociate ourselves from the world and reality. It's a psychological protective mechanism, keeping away the unpleasant and changes reality into abstract patterns of thought. Whether it be a million, a billion or twelfhundred trillions of sick, dead or exiled humans etc., emotionally it makes no difference to us. 8pm, news ... weather.... Last week I have "met" a little girl on the Internet. She has got the same disease my son has got (who is now 25 years old and well, thanks to the best medical support). My memory of the bad days in hospital is still fresh: The fever, the yelling, the smell of vomit everywhere on my clothes, the powerlessness and the rage. As a result, it is not possible for me to ignore her situation. The weather forecast has to wait. Watsi has me "on the hook", and every day I have a look at the home page, watsi.org, whether or not enough money was raised for medical treatment of the little, 6 months old "Angel". You can see her in the picture below, joined by Chase Adam, the man who takes care of her and makes sure she does not die.
figure1 little Angel (source: watsi.org)
figure 2 Chase Adam (source: forbes.com)
Watsi.org is as a charity crowd-funding organisation collecting donations in order to help people in developing countries with medical treatment. Donors donate for ONE single person and are kept up to date with information in regards to the treatment. Donating and ignoring ...impossible. 100% of the donation is assigned to the patient - the organisation has to raise funds for internal administrative costs separately. Watsi.org works according to the principle "low cost - high impact". As a result help concentrates on people from developing countries, where medical help is particularly insufficient. Watsi works with charitable contracting parties in 22 developing countries, in which costs for medical treatments and stays in clinical complexes are usually way lower than in Europe. Multi-surgeries and long time care are not part of the plan, which leaves out treatments of e.g. cancer and HIV. Chase Adam, the founder, knows the scene and has his reasons, when he states: "F * ck non-profit". He regards the scene as inefficient and bureaucratic. Probably 50% of donations arrive usually; Perhaps often, even less. Traditional non-profit organisations have the tendency to invest in big projects, coordinated with the affected countries' elite and with the projects' success quite often dependent on them, too. Chase Adam is fed up after years of working in non-profits. His friends, remaining in San Francisco after finishing their studies, have got interesting jobs and apparently beautiful lives. Adam, however, after years of work for the Peace Corp, is disillusioned and dissatisfied with his life. On a journey through Africa he unexpectedly experiences a different way of helping, practised by humans for thousands of years and regarded as completely normal between Africans; Direct help, man to man. A woman collecting donations for the medical treatment of her son. Adam recognizes she is not just a usual beggar, the woman has medical results with her and lets people participate in her unfortunate situation. He is shocked to find every person donating. Chase Adam decides to adopt the principle of "direct help" into his own "non-profit" plan and wants to name it after the place the idea came from: Watsi, a small town somewhere in the democratic Congo Republic. "Meet the patients" advertises his crowd-funding platform and presents people and their "history" on the web-site, watsi.org. Donors should know what their donation is used for, and for whom. By picking a "patient of their own", a personal relationship is formed with the donor starting to get to know the patient and taking part in his/her life. The clinic partners, who carry out the treatment, describe the scheduled treatment and the treatment progress according to the diagnosis. Too much proximity? Donating and just going on with life in this system?... No way! Back to the numbers. Until now, Watsi "only" helped 6.565 people (01/2016) to get medical treatment and live a better life as a result. A legitimate question - what good is helping a couple of thousands with a billion in need? But then, I, once again, look at the picture of the little "Angel" and know deep inside, that direct help, human to human, always makes sense. It is, essentially, part of being human.