Poverty and health

Determining baselines for human-elephant conflict: A matter of time
Pozo R; Coulson T; McCulloch G; Stronza A; Songhurst A: PLOS One, doi: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0178840, 2017

Northern Botswana holds the largest population of African elephants in the world, and in the eastern Okavango Panhandle, 16,000 people share and compete for resources with more than 11,000 elephants. Hence, it is not surprising this area represents a human-elephant conflict (HEC) ‘hotspot’ in the region. Crop-raiding impacts lead to negative perceptions of elephants by local communities, which can strongly undermine conservation efforts. The authors investigated the trend in the number of reported raiding incidents as one of the indicators of the level of HEC, and assessed its relationship to trends in human and elephant population size, as well as land-use in the study area from the 1970s to 2015. They found that the level of reported crop raiding by elephants in the eastern Panhandle appears to have decreased since 2008, which seems to be related more to the reduction in agricultural land allocated to people in recent years, more than the human and elephant population size. Although the study represents a first step in developing a HEC baseline in the eastern Panhandle, it highlights the need for additional multi-scale analyses that consider progress in conservation conflict to better understand and predict drivers of HEC in the region.

Developing a Nutrition and Health Education Program for Primary Schools in Zambia
Sherman J and Muehlhoff E: Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior 39(6): 335-342, November 2007

School-based health and nutrition interventions in developing countries aim at improving children’s nutrition and learning ability. In addition to the food and health inputs, children need access to education that is relevant to their lives, of good quality, and effective in its approach. Based on evidence from the Zambia Nutrition Education in Basic Schools (NEBS) project, this article examines whether and to what extent school-based health and nutrition education can contribute directly to improving the health and nutrition behaviors of school children. Initial results suggest that gains in awareness, knowledge and behavior can be achieved among children and their families with an actively implemented classroom program backed by teacher training and parent involvement, even in the absence of school-based nutrition and health services.

Developmental potential in the first 5 years for children in developing countries
Grantham-McGregor S, Cheung YB, Cueto S, Glewwe P, Richter L, Strupp B, International Child Development Steering Group: The Lancet 369: 60–70, 2007

Many children younger than 5 years in developing countries are exposed to multiple risks, including poverty, malnutrition, poor health, and unstimulating home environments, which detrimentally affect their cognitive, motor, and social-emotional development. There are few national statistics on the development of young children in developing countries. We therefore identified two factors with available worldwide data—the prevalence of early childhood stunting and the number of people living in absolute poverty—to use as indicators of poor development. We show that both indicators are closely associated with poor cognitive and educational performance in children and use them to estimate that over 200 million children under 5 years are not fulfilling their developmental potential. Most of these children live in south
Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. These disadvantaged children are likely to do poorly in school and subsequently have low incomes, high fertility, and provide poor care for their children, thus contributing to the intergenerational transmission of poverty.

Diarrhoea kills two million children per year
health24: 23 March 2009

Research into childhood diarrhoea has declined since the 1980s, keeping pace with dwindling funds for a disease that nonetheless accounts for 20% of all child deaths, the WHO said. Funds available for research into diarrhoea are much lower than those devoted to other diseases that cause comparatively few deaths. Nearly two million children die of diarrhoea each year, even though treating the ailment is relatively simple. WHO estimates some 50 million children have been saved thanks to the Oral Rehydration Solution mixture (salt, sugar, cleam water), which costs about (US)25c per child. The international Red Cross also warned that diarrhoeal diseases, such as cholera, are on the rise and increasingly a major cause of diseases and deaths throughout the world.

Diarrhoea: Why children are still dying and what can be done
World Health Organization: 2009

This report lays out a seven-point plan that includes a treatment package to reduce childhood diarrhoea deaths and a prevention strategy to ensure long-term results: fluid replacement to prevent dehydration; zinc treatment; rotavirus and measles vaccinations; promotion of early and exclusive breastfeeding and vitamin A supplementation; promotion of hand washing with soap; improved water supply quantity and quality, including treatment and safe storage of household water; and community-wide sanitation promotion. Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization, said: ‘We know where children are dying of diarrhoea. We know what must be done to prevent those deaths. We must work with governments and partners to put this seven-point plan into action.’ Yet, despite the known benefits of improving water supply and sanitation, some 88% of diarrhoeal diseases worldwide are attributable to unsafe water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene. As of 2006, an estimated 2.5 billion people were not using improved sanitation facilities, and nearly one in every four people in developing countries was practicing open defecation.

Dietary diversity of formal and informal residents in Johannesburg, South Africa
Drimie S, Faber M, Vearey J and Nunez L: BMC Public Health 13(911): 2 October 2013

This paper considers the question of dietary diversity as a proxy for nutrition insecurity in communities living in the inner city and the urban informal periphery in Johannesburg. It argues that the issue of nutrition insecurity demands urgent and immediate attention by policy makers. A cross-sectional survey was undertaken for households from urban informal and urban formal areas in Johannesburg, South Africa. Foods consumed by the respondents the previous day were used to calculate a Dietary Diversity Score. Respondents from informal settlements consumed mostly cereals and meat/poultry/fish, while respondents in formal settlements consumed a more varied diet. Significantly more respondents living in informal settlements consumed a diet of low diversity versus those in formal settlements. When grouped in quintiles, two-thirds of respondents from informal settlements fell in the lowest two, versus 15% living in formal settlements. Respondents in the informal settlements were more nutritionally vulnerable.

Diminished mental and physical function and lack of social support are associated with shorter survival in community dwelling older persons of Botswana
Clausen T, Wilson AO, Molebatsi RM, Holmboe-Ottesen G: BMC Public Health 7:144, 5 July 2007

Mortality rates for older persons in Botswana have been unavailable and little is known of predictors of mortality in old age. This study may serve as a precursor for more detailed assessments. The objective was to assess diminished function and lack of social support as indicators of short term risk of death. Older community dwelling persons with diminished cognitive or physical function, solitary daily meals and living in a small household have a significantly increased risk of rapid deterioration and death. Health policy should include measures to strengthen informal support and expand formal service provisions to older persons with poor function and limited social networks in order to prevent premature deaths.

Do poorer countries have less capacity for redistribution?
Ravallion M: Journal of Globalization and Development 1(2): Article 1, 2010

According to this paper, development aid and policy discussions often assume that poorer countries have less internal capacity for redistribution in favour of their poorest citizens. The author tested this assumption for 90 developing countries. He found that most countries fall into one of two groups: those with little or no realistic prospect of addressing extreme poverty through redistribution from the wealthy, and those that would appear to have ample scope for such redistribution. He found that increased per capita income tends to move countries from the first group to the second. The author argues that the marginal tax rates needed to fill the poverty gap for the international poverty line of $1.25 a day are clearly prohibitive (marginal tax rates of 100% or more) for the majority of countries with consumption per capita under $2,000 per year at 2005 PPP. Even covering half the poverty gap would require prohibitive marginal tax rates in the majority of poor countries. Yet amongst better-off developing countries—over $4,000 per year (say)—the marginal tax rates needed for substantial pro-poor redistribution are very small—less than 1% on average, and under 6% in all cases. He found that economic growth tends to move countries from the first group to the second, concluding that the appropriate balance between growth and redistribution strategies can be seen to depend on the level of economic development.

Does living in an urban environment confer advantages for childhood nutritional status? Analysis of disparities in nutritional status by wealth and residence in Angola, Central African Republic and Senegal
Kennedy G, Nantel G, Brouwer ID, Kok FJ: Public Health and Nutrition 9(2):187-93, April 2006

The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship between childhood undernutrition and poverty in urban and rural areas.

Donor Fatigue Leaves 2.8m People Hungrier in Southern Africa

2004 ended on a grim note for many in Southern Africa, where emergency food supplies cannot meet their needs. The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) announced that it had been cutting rations to more than 2.8 million people over the past six months, as it lacked the funding to purchase additional food supplies. "There will be serious health and nutritional repercussions if people have to accept a further reduction in their meagre rations," said Mike Sackett, WFP Regional Director for Southern Africa, in a press release issued December 22.