Health and Poverty
Health has a key role in determining the livelihoods and development of communities. Despite acknowledgment in the United Nations Millennium poll that health is the most important thing that people value in life, it remains a topic largely shunned by political leaders. The condition of healthcare and the health of citizens is an issue which must not be ignored: as both a cause and consequence of poverty, an unhealthy community leads to an unhealthy nation. The prominence of AIDS, HIV and the deaths of children are big reasons why we need to make a big difference.
Poverty forces more than a billion people to live in environments that are vulnerable to health risks, lacking shelter, food, water, sanitation or access to medical attention. Lack of clean water causing Diarrhoea and Cholera is one of the biggest killers worldwide, alongside malaria and HIV which are all more likely to occur in developing communities- but the broad scope and effects of ill health mean a concerted response to tackling the cycle of illness and poverty is largely missing.
The effects of living in poverty have a dramatic impact on health, putting developing communities at risk through the increased sharing of limited space, lack of education on health issues, lack of healthcare, lack of housing, inadequate food and clean water and exposure to human and animal wastes that spread bacteria.
A weakenned immune system from exposure to viruses, bacteria and persistent hunger mean developing communities are unable to work, are less productive, are more likely to live with disabilities, dependence or die younger. Families lose income from jobs to look after others and exposure to illness results in complications in pregnancy and deaths at childbirth.Stigma associated with illness can often be as devastating as the illness itself, resulting in social exclusion, loss of work, abuse and lack of access to basic services.
As more than five million children die of malnutrition each year, a child loses his or her mother in childbirth in a developing country each minute.
Malaria is one of the most serious health threats to communities in developing countries, and affects nearly half of the world's population. Malaria kills a child every 45 seconds and over 90% of Malaria deaths are in Africa. Malaria is a serious illness that severely undermines individuals ability to work and live a normal life and cases of malaria drain the economies of countries affected - but better funding for malaria prevention and healthcare could save thousands of lives every year.