The World Bank estimates that there are around 1.5 billion extremely poor people in the world. Poverty has many dimensions. It is defined by the International Council of Nurses as" a condition that extends beyond lack of income and goes hand in hand with lack of power, humiliation and a sense of exclusion. Defining it solely from the income level or as an inability to acquire basic food and shelter, limits our ability to understand its true nature and make effective interventions" (ICN, 2004, p. 5). Approximately 24,000 people worldwide, mostly children, die from hunger daily. Fifty percent of the world's populations lives on less than $ 2 a day and 54 countries are poorer today than they were in 1990. At the same time, by international standards, the United States has the highest rate of child poverty, with over 26 million children (U.S. Census Bureau, 2000).
For those living in poverty the impact reaches far beyond income and financial matters. Poverty is a disease that drains people's energy and dehumanizes them, creating a feeling of helplessness and loss of control. Illiteracy, ill health, malnourishment, environmental risks, and lack of choices contribute to the perpetual cycle of poverty and ill health. Without health, a person's chance to escape from poverty is diminished because of lost time, work, and income and the added burden of health care costs.
[...] The World Bank's Dying for Change report (2002) was produced to highlight the relationship between poverty and poor health from the perspective of the poor. The views of around 60,000 poor people were recorded giving an indication of the types of problem that people living with poverty face in trying to gain access to health care. Problems cited in Dying for Change included: low quality of service staff shortages and absenteeism lack of medicines and equipment difficulties in obtaining and understanding documentation lack of basic necessities cost of treatment Reviews of health services continually show that the relationship between health care providers and their clients greatly affects how service users feel about the facilities they use. [...]
[...] These concepts may be deceptively simple ideas before they are subjected to close analysis. The link between poverty and poor health initially seems obvious, but the underlying complexity of the connection illustrates how daunting breaking the cycle is. Efforts to ameliorate the health of the poor obviously must address a multitude of issues. This includes exploring how nurses may assist impoverished people to improve their health. By delineating the connection between poverty and public health, we might be able to conceive an effective plan that at least begins to address the problem. [...]
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[...] Near- poverty is income between 100-200% while low-income is income below 200% of the federal poverty level which is $ 36,800 per year for a family of four. These figures are from the federal poverty guidelines issued by the US Department of Health and Human Services by the US Census Bureau. The poor are those who do not have the resources to meet the basic needs for healthy living. They do not have the income to provide the food, shelter and clothing needed to preserve health. [...]
[...] Impact of Poverty on Childhood The disadvantages of low income for children are numerous, and the ramifications can be enduring. Anne Case, Darren Lubotsky, and Christina Paxson, in their Princeton University Center for Health and Wellbeing working paper, Economic Status and Health in Childhood: The Origins of the Gradient, find that not only do poor children suffer generally poorer health than higher-income children, but that the adverse health effects accumulate over childhood. As a result, children from poor households enter adulthood in poorer general health and with more serious chronic conditions than children in higher-income families. [...]
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