Diseases of poverty

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [11]

Overview

Diseases of poverty are diseases that are more prevalent among "the poor" than among wealthier people. In many cases poverty is the leading risk factor for such diseases, and in some cases disease can (or allegedly) cause poverty.

Examples

The three primary diseases of poverty are AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis.[1] Developing countries account for 95% of the global AIDS prevalence[2] and 98% of active tuberculosis infections.[3] Furthermore, 90% of malaria deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa.[4] Together, these three diseases account for 10% of global mortality.[5]

Three additional diseases, measles, pneumonia, and diarrheal diseases also closely associated with poverty, and are often included with AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis in broader definitions and discussions of diseases of poverty[12]. Finally, infant mortality and maternal mortality are far more prevalent among the poor. For example, 98% of the 11,600 daily maternal and neonatal deaths occur in developing countries.[6] Together, diseases of poverty kill approximately 14 million people annually.[7]

Mechanisms and Causes

For many environmental and social reasons, including crowded living conditions, inadequate sanitation, and disproportionate occupation as sex workers, the poor are more likely to be exposed to infectious diseases. Malnutrition and inadequate, inaccessible, or non-existent health care can hinder recovery and exacerbate the disease.[8] Malnutrition is associated with 54% 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.[9][10]

Consequences

Diseases of poverty reflect the dynamic relationship between poverty and poor health; while such diseases result directly from poverty, they also perpetuate and deepen impoverishment by sapping personal and national health and financial resources. For example, malaria decreases GDP growth by up to 1.3% in some developing nations, and by killing tens of millions in sub-Saharan Africa, AIDS alone threatens “the economies, social structures, and political stability of entire societies”[13][14].children die each day from malnutrition.

Diseases as a cause of Poverty

[citation needed]

Some diseases are alleged to cause poverty; many of these diseases are mental illnesses that affect socialization, awareness, and intelligence. They include autism, schizophrenia, antisocial personality disorder, and certain mental damage caused by substance abuse or trauma. Also malaria.

See also

References



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