Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Capitalism - The unhealthy system

  Poverty causes more death and illness than plague, pestilence or famine. Diseases of poverty kill approximately 14 million people annually.  Gastroenteritis with its associated diarrhoea results in about 1.8 million deaths in children yearly with most of these in the world’s poorest nations. According to the UNICEF 3,000 children die every day worldwide due to contaminated drinking water and poor sanitation.  783 million people rely on unimproved water sources.

At the global level, the three primary poverty-related diseases (PRDs) are AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis. Developing countries account for 95 per cent of the global AIDS prevalence and 98 per cent of active tuberculosis infections. Furthermore, 90 per cent of malaria deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa. Together, these three diseases account for 10 per cent of global mortality. Three other diseases, measles, pneumonia and diarrhea diseases, are also closely associated with poverty, and are often included with AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis in broader definitions and discussions of diseases of poverty.

Many diseases that primarily affect the poor serve to also deepen poverty and worsen conditions.  Poverty also significantly reduces people’s capabilities making it more difficult to avoid poverty related diseases. The majority of diseases and related mortality in poor countries is due to preventable, treatable diseases for which medicines and treatment regimes are readily available. For many environmental and social reasons, including crowded living and working conditions, inadequate sanitation, and disproportionate occupation as sex workers, the poor are more likely to be exposed to infectious diseases. Malnutrition, stress, overwork, and inadequate, inaccessible, or non-existent health care can hinder recovery and exacerbate the disease. Malnutrition is associated with 54 per cent of childhood deaths from diseases of poverty and lack of skilled attendants during childbirth is primarily responsible for the high maternal and infant death rates among the poor.

From here

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