Poverty Leads to Ill-Health in Children and Adults.
Poverty Leads to Ill-Health in Children and Adults.
There is a saying that health is wealth. I could not agree less with this statement because good health provides a basis for life. Without good health, life is fragile and meaningless. Good health refers to the complete absence of disease in the body. It is also the mental, physical, and social well-being of a person. I hold that having good health gives more meaning to life because I have witnessed first-hand how poverty translates into poor health. Growing up, we lived in a small neighborhood where all households were known to one another. This family was living at the corner of the street, and we are family friends. The Thompson family comprised of four children. Mr. Thompson was the breadwinner of the family. He held a senior management job at a renowned bank. Mrs. Thompson was a stay-at-home mother. She took care of the household while the husband brought in the funds to care for the family. However, a tragedy happened. The man was convicted of siphoning funds from his employer and he lost his job. Alongside his three colleagues involved in the heist, they were prosecuted and charged in a court of law. Mr. Thompson was lucky to have gotten out on bond and 1-year probation. However, following his misconduct no firm was willing to hire him. Although he did not serve jail time, this mistake turned around his life completely. He sold his car and mortgaged his house in an attempt to provide his family with a decent life. His wife had to step up and look for a job to help cater to the family needs, but the funds were barely enough despite working four jobs. Eventually, the Thompsons were kicked out of their house following foreclosure and forced to move out. The situation was terrible, and they ended up seeking accommodation in a shelter. They did not have access to clean drinking water and because of poor sanitation, they caught diarrhea and typhoid. They could not afford to buy clean drinking water and they ended up consuming contaminated water which made them sick. They could no longer afford health insurance and were left at the mercy of well-wishers to help them. This placed them at a great disadvantage and left them vulnerable to more diseases. Since they moved out of the neighborhood, we lost contact with them and all efforts to trace them were futile because they started moving from shelter house to shelter house before they could save enough money to rent an apartment. Without a doubt, poverty places both adults and children at an increased risk of sickness and chronic diseases.
Limited Access to Quality Healthcare
Undoubtedly, being poor leads to ill-health because poor people tend to lack access to quality healthcare services. I hold this perspective as true because if a person is poor, they do not have the money to foot hospital bills and medication. Poor people primarily work menial jobs for a living, and these jobs rarely come with health insurance packages (Clay, 2001). This places them at a disadvantage when they fall sick because they have to dig into their pocket for food medication costs. Worth noting, health-related medication is not cheap. The costs of health care will require a person to cater for consultations, tests, and medication. Additionally, sick people are also required to cater for transportation costs to the health facilities. When combined, all these costs can be expensive, and since the poor do not have resources at their disposal, they are likely to succumb to sickness.
High Risk of Infections
Another reason why I think poverty leads to ill-health because low economic status exposes adults to infectious diseases. Poor people tend to be homeless, which increases their risk of engaging in risky sexual practices like exchanging sex for money, food, and safety (Anvari-Clark & Frey, 2019). These practices place them at risk of contracting HIV. Poverty also breeds in food leading to HIV/AIDS infection. Even after contracting HIV, if a person is poor they will likely face hunger putting them at a greater risk of succumbing to the infection.
Stress Causes Developmental Issues in Children
Thirdly, exposing children to poverty and stress affects development. This is true because stress reflects in the educational and behavioral outcomes of children. If children are exposed to stress at home they will perform poorly at school, and they tend to develop truant behavior like using drugs and missing school. Low-income families tend to have fewer funds available and hence children do not get a balanced diet. This affects brain development and puts them at risk of developing chronic diseases like malnutrition. As such, children born into poverty suffer health-related problems, including mental health issues than children from high socio-economic backgrounds.
Core Values; Humanity and Compassion
In addition to the reasons mentioned above, the core values of humanity and compassion inform my perspective on the issue of wealth and health. I believe that one of the reasons is to live a happy and fulfilled life and achieve this compassion, and humanity should be at the center. Compassion defines true human beings. It is a harsh world and every day, we face unexpected problems and strive to overcome them. Although understanding each other is not easy, wise people try to understand other people’s suffering. I realize that not everyone will be well endowed with money and resources. Some people are more blessed than others while others cannot even afford the bare minimum (Sapolsky, 2018). That is how life was meant to be. As such, some people will have more money and riches while others are rather disadvantaged. It is upon us to help the poor to help make their life better and put a smile on their face.
In closing, low economic status places children and adults at an increased risk of sickness and chronic diseases. Poverty limits access to quality healthcare as poor people lack health insurance. Poverty also places adults at a high risk of developing infections like HIV and also exposes children to developmental problems. Life is not always fair. Some people have more than enough money to last a lifetime, while others struggle to afford one meal a day. It is upon us to show compassion to the disadvantaged members of society and help put a smile on their faces by giving them food donations or shopping vouchers.
Anvari-Clark, J., & Frey, J. J. (2019). FINANCIAL CAPABILITY and Behavioral Health. In The Routledge Handbook on Financial Social Work (pp. 61-72). Routledge.
Clay, R. A. (2001). Wealth secures health. Monitor on Psychology, 32(9), 78.
Sapolsky, R. M. (2018). The health-wealth gap. Scientific American, 319(5), 62-67.