Friday, November 19, 2010

Origins of Illnesses in different sections of society

Keeping in mind all the foregoing factors, we simply cannot afford to continue to live in our own shells! In the final analysis, health is a political matter, and the types of illnesses found in society are reflection of the nature of that society. Illnesses do not hit all groups in society randomly and equally, and just as wealth is unequally distributed in Indian society, so is ill health. One of the best predictors of a person's life expectancy is his annual income and extensive research has proven that many illnesses have their origins in social conditions. The difference starts right from childhood, and poor nutrition means that the children of the poor are shorter, weaker, sicker and thinner than those of the rich --- even at birth.

Although an individual's life expectancy has increased, the gap in life expectancy between the poor and the rich has also continued to increase all over the world. According to a survey of global health by the World Health Organization, poverty was the greatest underlying cause of disease, leaving many with inadequate access to nutrition, drugs and basic health care. Those living in poverty must focus on survival priorities and often don't have the time or the energy to prevent or treat illnesses, until they are forced to. Leading a hand-to-mouth existence means falling ill is a luxury they really cannot afford! Unfortunately, many doctors and hospitals fail to treat the poor as well as they would treat the rich, so that many simply avoid doctors and hospitals completely because of inferior care.

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