Aveneu Park, Starling, Australia

An issues to be addressed in our world. Because

An American economist, Jeffrey Sachs, once said, “Extreme
poverty is the best breeding ground on earth for disease, political
instability, and terrorism.” An obvious message implied in this quote is that
there is a direct link between poverty and disease, especially among vulnerable
groups of people and countries. Poverty can be
considered one of the most problematic issues to be addressed in our world.
Because of this, eradicating poverty has been put as the first of seventeen
Sustainable Development Goals in 2015: ‘No poverty’ (Kumar, Kumar &
Vivekadhish, 2016). Poverty
can be measured in many ways by different individuals. While the World Bank’s
measure of poverty is ‘the percentage of people living below an income of one
US dollar per day’, this is not the case of those with no income but still meet
their basic needs for daily survival, and this measure does not consider
different average spending and different values of one US dollar between
countries (Parker & Wilson, 2000, p. 83). In fact, poverty is not being able
to get access to basic needs such as food, shelter, clothing and clean water, basic
education and healthcare. Poverty makes people more
prone to disease (Walraven, 2011, p. 4), and thus, this essay addresses diseases
and health conditions that are more widespread among the poor, called “diseases
of poverty”.

Infectious diseases (e.g. measles), parasitic diseases (e.g.
malaria) and respiratory diseases (e.g. tuberculous) are among most common and
dreadful diseases of poverty, especially in children. The Health Poverty Action
(2017) states that millions of the poorest and most vulnerable people are killed
every year by communicable diseases such as diarrhoea, tuberculosis, malaria,
and HIV. They are linked with the lack of income, clean water
and sanitation, food, access to healthcare and basic education which are the
characteristics of poor communities and countries (Rowson, 2001). One extremely
side of poverty is malnutrition. Malnutrition, more importantly
undernutrition, cause many problems, especially to children. Undernutrition has
strong links with diseases like diarrhoea, measles, and tuberculosis because undernutrition
can weaken resistance to acquire diseases and lower the ability to fight the
disease once it occurs; in other words, undernutrition weakens one’s immune
system (Parker & Wilson, 2000, p. 84). According
to World Health Organization (2017), about 45% of deaths in children under 5
worldwide are attributable to undernutrition (Children: reducing mortality). In
addition to malnutrition, unsafe drinking water and poor sanitation are also characteristics
of poverty that cause health problems among people. Despite the fact that the access
to clean water is important to support our lives, there are people who have
little or no access to safe drinking water across the globe. According to World
Health Organization, in 2015, 2.1 people live without safely managed water sources,
meaning they live on unprotected and untreated water from lakes, ponds, rivers,
and streams (Drinking-water). People living in such kind of conditions are
prone to water-borne diseases like diarrhoea. Moreover, poor sanitation also
play an important role in spreading diarrhoea. According to the Health Poverty
Action (2017), approximately two million people die from diarrhoea each year,
especially among children in developing countries.

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When discussing
about diseases of poverty, HIV and AIDS should not be forgotten. Human immuno-deficiency
virus (HIV) is considered as a relatively new and fatal virus for low-income countries
and as the cause of acquired immuno-deficiency syndrome (AIDS) (Parker &
Wilson, 2000, p. 89). HIV/AIDS is not just a sexually transmitted disease as
many would consider. Millions
of children have been born with the disease while others have been infected
with the virus through receiving blood from infected person or using shared
needles with infected person. HIV/AIDS is a disease of poverty because it has
emerged as the disease of the poor both in developed and developing nations. According to UNAIDS report, in 2016, approximately 36.7 million
people, 2.1 million of which being children under 15, were living with HIV/AIDS.
And, not surprisingly, a vast majority of infected individuals live in poor
communities. One not-so-direct link between HIV/AIDS and poverty is education.
Vandemoortele and Delamonica (2000) introduced a term, “Education Vaccine”
against HIV. Education, especially women’s schooling, is the most effective vaccine
against HIV. Illiterate women are more ignorant about the basic facts about
HIV/AIDS and more importantly, they are not aware that the HIV virus can be
transmitted from mother to child (Vandemoortele & Delamonica, 2000). World
Bank (1993) stated that ‘Education greatly strengthens women’s ability to
perform their vital role in creating healthy households’ (Parker & Wilson,
2000, p. 82). If women (and men) are educated with STDs (sexually transmitted
diseases), protected sex relationships, and basic knowledge about HIV/AIDS, many
more people each year will be protected from being infected with the disease. Unfortunately,
sex education is mostly offered at schools and a large portion of world population
can not go to school and are illiterate due to poverty.

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