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Poverty and Illiteracy

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Poverty

The state of being extremely poor.

Impact of Poverty in South-East Asia Region (SEAR) Region

  In the region, still most of the people are living below poverty line; NCD pandemic originates from them.

  Due to low income, purchasing power for healthy diet and lifestyle choices are reduced. So, unhealthy behaviours are commonly found among these people, and also access to health care is expensive one for them.

  Inadequate education, weak social network, social exclusion and long lasting stress are directly proportional to poverty.

  Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are more common in lower socioeconomic groups.

  In the region, NCDs are more prevalent in the lower socioeconomic group. For example, in Indonesia, high blood pressure was as common (33%) in the top income group where as (31%) in the low-income group.

  Poor people are mostly chain smokers; so poverty and tobacco use will form a vicious circle.

  Family’s food, education and health care expenditures are reduced by tobacco use, in which most of the income is spent by poor people. In Sri Lanka, two lowest income group people (monthly income less than US$ 76) spent more than 40% of their income on concurrent alcohol and tobacco, a study revealed.

  To overcome this problem, by understanding the links between poverty and NCDs, appropriate policies should be developed. Due to poverty, material deprivation (having insufficient physical resources) occurs.

  In poor countries, ability to pay for health care influences outcome of all diseases especially NCDs.

  Total expenditure on health in SEAR Member countries is low, with a maximum of 14% GDP in Timor-Leste in 2008 and just 2.3% in Indonesia and Myanmar. In India, total health expenditure as percentage of GDP (4.2%) is about one third that of USA.

Health expenditure in Member countries of SEAR, 2000 and 2008 comparison


  Total expenditure on health as percent of GDP General government expenditure on health as percent of total government expenditure Out-of-pocket expenditure as percent of private expenditure on health Per capita total expenditure on health (ppp int. $) Per capita government expenditure on health (ppt int. $)
Country 2000 2008 2000 2008 2000 2008 2000 2008 2000 2008
Bangladesh 2.8 3.3 7.6 7.4 95.1 96.5 22 44 9 14
Bhutan 6.7 5.5 12.6 13 Free Services Free Services 165 263 131 217
DPR Korea                    
India 4.6 4.2 3.9 4.4 92.2 74.4 69 122 19 40
Indonesia 2 2.3 4.5 6.2 72.9 70.3 47 91 17 49
Maldives 8.7 13.7 11.1 13.8 73.8 72 242 769 113 470
Myanmar 2.1 2.3 1.2 0.7 99.2 95.7 12 27 2 2
Nepal 5.1 6 7.7 11.3 91.2 72.4 43 66 11 25
Sri Lanka 3.7 4.1 6.9 7.9 83.3 86.7 101 187 49 82
Thailand 3.4 4.1 9.9 14.2 76.9 68.1 165 328 92 244
Timor- Leste 8.8 13.9 12.7 11.9 43.4 37.2 67 112 48 93
SEAR 3.9 3.8 4.7 5.6 89.4 75.1 64 116 21 46

  More than half of health expenditure is met with private resources.

  In 2008, per capita total expenditure on health was $PPP 116 on average in the Region and government expenditure was just about 33% in populous countries, such as Bangladesh and India, and a dismal 7.5% in Myanmar.

Illiteracy

The state of being illiterate or uneducated.

Impact of Illiteracy in SEAR Region

  Education is the most important determinant of health. Education provides knowledge of protecting health, healthy lifestyle and seeking proper health care.

  Improvement in literacy level showed in SEAR region with 71%.

  Tobacco use and education are inversely proportional. Illiteracy levels affect health behaviours.

  In Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Thailand, smoking and smokeless tobacco use are more prevalent among the less educated people.

  Illiteracy can also result in salt consumption level as well as use of saturated fats, which aggravate NCD risk factors.

 
Source: WHO-2011 report

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