Wednesday, September 16, 2009

You know our world is imperfect when...

We poor Canadians certainly face many problems. A broken parliamentary system, rife with erratic and self-serving leaders. Endemic abuse at the hands of usury bankers. An inherent inability to provide fairness and justice for all. A spill-over of undue and banal US influences that leave the kind of taint only Hannibal Lechter could love. Too many petulant and misguided wieners. And, too many idiots!

These, and a myriad of other challenges, are undoubtedly concerning - at least to a certain extent. But before we start feeling too sorry for ourselves; read this item from South Africa:

TB Patients Sell Sputum to Grant Fraudsters

September 14, 2009 - by Brenda Nkuna

Cape Town — Desperate for an income, unemployed people are paying TB patients for sputum samples so they can dupe doctors into getting them onto the social grant system.

TB-ridden residents in Khayelitsha charge R50 to R100 for sputum samples in a ruse which involves 'sputum sellers' keeping a stash of sample bottles smuggled out of government clinics which are then handed, with the infected sample, to unsuspecting health workers.

Using the infected TB sample, healthy people get a card from the clinic indicating they have TB and use this to fraudulently obtain a temporary disability grant ....

Enquiries in Khayelitsha quickly revealed three TB infected residents willing to sell their sputum in order for fraudulent grants to be obtained.

This reporter approached one of them, a 54-year-old man who legitimately receives a disability grant for his illness, who sold two bottles with sputum samples for at total of R50.

He said on average he made about R500 per month selling his sputum to people wanting to fraudulently obtain grants.

But he said business was "not good" because so many people were infected with TB in the township, which meant he had a lot of competition.

Paid R50, the man, who cannot be named in order to protect his identity, provided two samples of fresh sputum, each in a health department bottle obtained from a stack he kept in his bedroom.

Going to the Nolungile clinic in Site C, Khayelitsha, for a TB test, this reporter was given two bottles by a health worker who said a sputum sample in each bottle was required for the tests.

The health worker did not insist the sputum be coughed up in front of them so it was easy to swap the bottles with those which contained the purchased samples.

Fortunately for the sputum seller, but unluckily for this 'client' the samples came back negative, indicating that the man who sold the sputum had likely been taking his TB medication.

.... some TB patients deliberately neglected to take their medication in order to remain on the grant system, in effect trading their health for money. .... [giving rise to incidences whereby] patients abandoning their six-month course of medication led to multiple drug resistant (MDR) TB or even extreme drug resistant (XDR) TB.

The World Health Organization's Global TB Report 2008 ranks South Africa fourth in the world for TB infection, with an incidence rate of 940 cases per 100 000 people - a major increase from 338 per 100 000 population in 1998.

The Western Cape health department said there were 50,156 TB cases in the province in 2008...

*** Don't know about you, but I am starting to believe that maybe (just maybe) the world is a relative place. And that, on any given day, we should all remember that some (though not all) of our problems aren't really all that bad?


  1. That's an excellent point. When I asked a Colombian-born friend how it was that he and his family ended up emigrating to Canada, he started to explain that hitmen were hired to go after his uncle, who then tried to kill his father when they couldn't find the uncle.

    And that kind of violence is rampant in Colombia. Life in parts of Colombia makes life in the North End look like a walk in the park by comparison.

    Hearing his story certainly put Canada's problems in perspective.

  2. Compared to the rest of the world, dapeg is a sandbox filled with children fighting over tonka toys

    Mr. Nobody