"I will be very happy to see Catherine receiving treatment and enrolling in school."
- Catherine's mother
Catherine is a three-year-old girl from Tanzania. She is a genuinely happy and easy-going kid. Her father works as a vegetable vendor and her mother sells grain.
Catherine was diagnosed with a condition called acquired genu valgum, where her legs are bent inward at the knees causing pain and resulting in lifelong deformity. It is a relatively common disease in the developing world, and can result from drinking water with elevated levels or fluorine, called fluorosis.
Proceeds from, your coffee purchases have been donated to fund her surgery.
Fluorosis can cause multiple developmental problems, especially dental mottling and genu valgum. In many areas around the world where the water supply is not regulated and analyzed, elevated levels of fluoride are often present. This condition is typically caused by an excessive accumulation of fluoride in the bones or teeth, which often stems from contaminated drinking water. The condition prevents her from playing and enrolling in school.
In 1995, researchers traveled to remote villages in India to study the high prevalence of observed genu valgum. The two villages, Tilaipani and Hirapur, with a combined population of about 1,200, had extremely high percentage of their population with genu valgum and dental fluorosis.
What they found was staggering. In Tilaipani over 50% of kids under 20 years old had genu valgum and 73% had dental fluorosis.
In comparison, the village of Hirapur only had 6% of people below 20 years old with genu valgum.
When they analyzed the drinking water in the different villages, they found that the fluoride levels in the Tilaipani water were 9-10x higher than in Hirapur, which likley explains the dramatic difference in genu valgum prevalence.
So thanks to your caffeine habit, Catherine will soon be able to play with her friends without discomfort.
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