Poverty reduction: the role of the health sector: round table 3
Abstract3. It is now recognized that poverty is a factor that promotes ill health; and that ill health increases the risks of sinking into poverty. It has also been accepted that health is the most precious and important asset to the poor. Indeed, it is good health that enables the poor to lead a life of dignity and productivity, to participate in the labour market, in the production of goods and to assert their rights to life as total persons. If health is an asset and disease a handicap to the poor, then the protection, promotion and rehabilitation of health must be central to all measures aimed at eradicating poverty and promoting human development.1 4. There is therefore a vicious circle between poverty and health in the sense that poverty has negative effects on the health of individuals and ill health contributes largely to increased poverty.2 5. The poor generally face a large number of obstacles when they try to access health services. The first and foremost of these obstacles is that of costs, whether financial or non-financial. In other words, poverty means that the most basic rights, means and choices regarding human development are denied a group of people. 6. Another problem that often confronts the poor is the lack of equity. The disadvantaged groups do not benefit from the same level of treatment, neither are their needs met equally within the health facilities, especially in terms of waiting time, quality of care, and availability of specialized care or medication. 7. Despite the efforts made, poverty continues to spread and intensify in the great majority of developing countries. This scourge is a moral burden for the international community. Consequently, the fight against poverty has become one of the principal objectives of almost all donor countries and international development bodies. Several instruments have been developed for this fight, the best known being debt relief or cancellation and poverty reduction strategies (PRS). In addition, many solidarity networks at the local, national and international levels are known to have as a major concern the fight against poverty
Regional Committe for Africa, 51. (2001). Poverty reduction: the role of the health sector: round table 3. WHO. Regional Office for Africa. http://www.who.int/iris/handle/10665/95738
DescriptionRegional Committee for Africa, Fifty-first session, Brazzaville, Republic of Congo, 27 August–1 September 2001
Gov't Doc #AFR/RC51/RT/3
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