Social Evils Poverty and Health

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Social Evils, poverty and health

Poverty is one of the most important social evils and a major determinant of ill

health (1). From time it is known that poor social status is a major determinant of disease and

reduces longevity in a big way. The Charaka Samhita recognized that community structure and

functioning was an important cause of disease in individuals. The association of individual

illness causing community disturbances and poverty and vice versa was noted (2). Health status

is strongly determined by socio-economic positions and a large body of literature from developed

countries demonstrates that most causes of deaths occur at a greater rate in groups with lower

socio-economic status (3). Pathways from adverse social circumstances to ill health are then

discussed and some suggestions are made for eliminating these social evils. The Global Burden

of Diseases Study reported major causes of mortality, disease burden and risk factors in various

parts of the world (4). In developing countries, infections of respiratory tract, HIV/AIDS,

diarreah, tuberculosis, and malaria have emerged as important causes. The reliability of mortality

data has been questioned in terms of medical classification of deaths as a large number of deaths

are recorded as proof and old age. Globally, the important causes were lower respiratory

infections, AIDS, heart disease, and malaria. Indian National Commission on Macroeconomics

and Health (9) has reported that communicable diseases, maternal conditions as well as non-

communicable diseases which are major causes of disease burden. The Second Global Burden

of Diseases Study (4) quantified more than twenty health risk factors that influence health of

populations. Major risk factors identified were childhood and maternal undernutrition leading to

childhood and maternal underweight., iron deficiency, anaemia, vitamin A deficiency and zinc...
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