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  • Writer's pictureSerena Booy

THE IMPACT OF POVERTY ON HEALTH AND WELL-BEING

Updated: Sep 6, 2021

Socioeconomic status is the most powerful predictor of disease, disorder, injury and mortality we have.



FACTS:


* Poverty is a major determinant on an individual’s health status and health outcomes.

* Nearly ½ of the world’s population live on less than $2.50 per day

* Preventable diseases like diarrhea and pneumonia take the lives of millions of children each year who are too poor to afford proper treatment

* Children from single parent families or with one parent sick are three times more likely to live in poverty



Poverty is both a cause and a consequence of poor health and well being. Poor health can trap individuals, families and communities in poverty

· Poverty increases the chances of poor health

· Poor health increases the likelihood of poverty



1. Poor health as a cause of poverty


1.1 Recurring infectious and neglected tropical diseases such as malaria limits a person’s ability to:

* be able to financially care for themselves and their families

* removes the primary bread winner causing hardship

* restricts proper childhood development

* impacts on maternal health and birth weight


1.2 Non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, cancer, respiratory diseases, mental health conditions and heart diseases are often preventable and treatable, are also the cause and a consequence of poverty.


* Poverty and an inability to provide can cause mental health conditions

* Sickness can reduce a person’s ability to make money and to care for the family unit

* Increased rises in medical expenses can cause a family to go without some of the basic human needs

* Poverty can impact on people’s food choices, leading to an increased risk of developing non-communicable diseases

* Poor housing, indoor cooking and indoor mold can cause chronic respiratory conditions


2. Poor health as a consequence of poverty

Children from the poorest countries account for the largest percentage of preventable deaths.


2.1 Inadequate housing and poor living conditions

* Adequate housing provides protection against conditions such as tuberculosis, diarrhea and malaria

* Access to adequate water and sanitation protects individuals from cholera, dysentery, typhoid, hepatitis A and polio

* Poor housing ventilation contributes towards respiratory conditions

* Indoor mold is a contributing factor is asthma development

* Inadequate housing allows for rats and bugs to dwell in the house


2.1 Environmental factors such as drought, cyclone and flooding in low-income earners can result in:


* financial hardship

* lack or limited variety of food

* inability to access health services

* likelihood of developing malnutrition

* inability to afford childhood education

* a need move family to a township in search of work

* repeated exposure to infections due to poor housing


POVERTY breeds low health status, which breeds disease, which breeds disablement and premature death.



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