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Public health approaches to infectious disease
Public health approaches to infectious disease

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6.1 The persistent effects of poverty on health

The World Bank (2009) estimated that there were 1.4 billion people in 2008 with an income of less than US$1.25 per day. In 2010, this estimate was confirmed as still the most accurate measure of the number considered to be living in absolute poverty. Aside from the obvious threats to health that poverty entails, the lack of the means of subsistence drives impoverished rural populations into already overcrowded cities. The movement of rural populations into urban slums (Figure 23) is increasing faster than the ability of most LMICs to provide adequate housing, sanitation, drinking water, education and health services.

© Justin DeNormandie and Janette Sunita, population Services International (PSI) Delhi, India/WHO
Figure 23 In 2010, urban slums housed an estimated 828 million of the world’s population (UN, 2010), exposing their inhabitants to high risks of infectious disease

However, the outlook is not without hope: the advances in infrastructure, communication and organisation at local, national and international levels that delivered such large improvements in public health in the ‘developed’ world in the twentieth century are being applied now in LMICs with substantial success – as several of the examples in this course have demonstrated.